CALGARY, Alberta, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A major Canadian beef processing plant implicated in bacterial contamination was given provisional approval to reopen Thursday by federal officials.
The XL Foods plant in southern Alberta was ordered shut down Sept. 27 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency when a unique strain of E. coli infections started showing up, triggering Canada's largest recall of beef products, the QMI Agency reported.
Inspectors toured the sprawling facility in Brooks, Alberta, southeast of Calgary, Wednesday and announced Thursday they were satisfied with conditions – but with strict oversight, the Globe and Mail reported.
Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, a CFIA executive, said some 5,100 beef carcasses that have been kept in cold storage could be processed.
"Beginning today, XL Foods will be permitted to resume limited in-house cutting and further processing under strict, enhanced oversight," he said. "The plant will not be permitted to resume normal operations until the CFIA confirms in writing that it is safe to do so."
As of Thursday, 12 people in four provinces in Canada had fallen sick by E. coli contamination from beef processed by XL Foods, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said.
More than 1,800 beef products under scores of brand names products have been recalled and import bans were called by the United States and Hong Kong.