XL Foods, which is trying to resume regular operations after a massive North American ground beef recall shuttered the Alberta facility, ran into more problems during an inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The company resumed limited slaughter operations on October 29 under the eye of CFIA inspectors.

CFIA inspectors closely monitored plant operations, including the unloading and screening of animals, pre-operation inspections, slaughter, and the cutting and processing of carcasses. Over the course of the first week of operations, the CFIA determined that the establishment's overall food safety controls were being effectively managed, the agency announced in a statement.

“As would be expected in a facility that has not been in regular operation for some time, there have been some observations made by CFIA that resulted in the CFIA issuing new Corrective Action Requests (CARs) to XL Foods Inc. since the plant reopened,” the CFIA reported.

These observations included:

  • Condensation on pipes in the tripe room;
  • Water in a sanitizer was not maintained at a high temperature;
  • Meat cutting areas were not adequately cleaned; and
  • No sanitizing chemical solution in the mats used for cleaning employees' boots.

The CFIA instructed plant management to take immediate action to address these concerns, including the following:

  • Potentially contaminated product was sent for rendering.
  • Sanitizers were brought into compliance immediately.
  • The meat cutting area was cleaned and sanitized.
  • Boot mats were supplied with sanitizer.

In addition, the CFIA requested the company submit corrective action plans outlining how they will address these issues in the longer term and mitigate future risks. The company submitted a corrective action plan and appropriate measures were implemented immediately. The CFIA is reviewing the company's long-term and preventive measures and will verify that they are effectively implemented.

In addition to monitoring plant operations, the CFIA will analyze results from product testing conducted by both the company and the CFIA, which are expected from laboratories in the coming days. Trim and ground beef products will be held by XL Foods Inc. until all related CFIA and XL Foods Inc. test results are reviewed and found acceptable by the CFIA.

As part of a previously scheduled audit of the Canadian inspection system, the US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) visited the plant on November 2, 2012. The audit findings will be released by the US at a later date.

Source: CFIA