Feds to tour troubled Alberta beef plant

Oct. 9, 2012 at 9:32 AM

CALGARY, Alberta, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A beef processing plant in Alberta ordered closed last month because of E. coli contamination was being inspected Tuesday by Canadian health officials.

The XL Foods plant in Brooks, southeast of Calgary, has applied to have its license reinstated, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is reserving a decision until a detailed examination of the facility is completed, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Dr. Harpreet Kochhar of the CFIA said even if the inspection showed full sanitation and operational compliance, it didn't guarantee permission to resume operations.

"At this point there is no date or indication if the plant will be operational," he said.

Recalls of thousands of its beef products began Sept. 16, 12 days after the contamination was discovered, the CBC said.

As of Tuesday, 11 people in four provinces were recovering from the bacterial infection.

Monday, Hong Kong also issued a recall for a small amount of beef processed at the plant although no infections were reported in the Chinese city, CTV News said.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a statement its initial estimate that 890,000 pounds of beef products related to XL Foods had been imported was far too low, CTV said.

"After conducting effectiveness checks, FSIS now estimates that approximately 1.1 million pounds of trim and approximately 1.4 million pounds" of other beef products had entered the United States, the agency said.

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