Canadian beef plant reopens under scrutiny

Oct. 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM
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CALGARY, Alberta, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- A Canadian beef processing plant ordered closed because of E. coli contamination partially reopened Tuesday in Alberta under federal scrutiny.

The XL Foods plant in Brooks, southeast of Calgary, called back 800 of its 2,000 employees to process 5,100 carcasses that have been in cold storage since the facility was shut down Sept. 27, the Globe and Mail reported.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it would have a contingent of inspectors present to oversee the single-shift resumption of beef processing

The family-owned meat processor is the second-largest of its kind in Canada and its workforce is largely composed of immigrants working near minimum-wage levels, CTV News said.

At least 15 Canadians across the country have been treated for E. coli infections associated with meat from the facility since September and more than 1,800 beef products have been recalled in Canada, the United States and Hong Kong, the reports said.

If inspectors are satisfied with heightened sanitation and other measures, the plant could be back to full production within 10 days, the Globe said.

The E. coli bacteria is killed when meat and other foods are fully cooked.

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