CFIA continues investigation into XL Foods (Update Sept 28, 2012)

CFIA continues investigation into XL Foods (Update Sept 28, 2012)

Here are some frequently asked questions from the recall of Specific Products from XL Foods Inc. – Establishment 38, Brooks, Alberta.

What prompted this voluntary recall by XL Foods Inc.? How did the recall happen?

This voluntary recall initiated by the company follows positive test results for E. coliO157:H7 in product shipped from this facility.

How many inspectors does the CFIA have at XL Foods, Inc. and how many inspectors does the CFIA have overall?

The CFIA currently has 40 inspectors and 6 veterinarians assigned full-time to the XL Foods, Inc. plant in Brooks, Alberta providing systematic inspection and oversight. They work in two shifts to ensure full coverage whenever the plant is operating. There have been no changes to the existing staffing levels at XL Beef in the last 12 months. In fact, since 2006 we have added 2 veterinarians and six inspectors to the plant complement.

Since March 2006, field inspection staff increased by 711 from 2,823 to 3,534 in March 2012, approximately 25 per cent.

The term “field inspection staff” covers front-line inspectors and inspection managers who work in food processing plants, import service centres and field offices across the country. This includes food inspectors for meat as well as inspectors who specialize in food safety investigations.

What are the CFIA’s next steps at Establishment 38 – XL Foods Inc.?

The CFIA has temporarily suspended the licence to operate Establishment 38 – XL Foods Inc., in Brooks, Alberta. The CFIA determined that adequate controls for food safety were not fully implemented in the facility. The CFIA identified a number of deficiencies during an in-depth review of the facility. To date, the company had not adequately implemented the agreed-upon corrective actions and did not present acceptable plans to address longer-term issues.

All products currently at this plant are under CFIA detention and control. These products will only be released after being tested for E. coli O157:H7. The company has also expanded its voluntary recall of raw meat produced on August 24, 27, 28, 29 and September 5.

The CFIA will continue to immediately alert consumers as these additional products are identified. This will lead to a series of public alerts over the next few days as implicated products and processed products that contain them are identified and traced.

XL Foods Inc. will not resume operations until the CFIA is fully confident in the plant’s capacity to effectively manage food safety risks.

What is E. coli O157:H7?

E. coli O157:H7 is a bacteria that when consumed, may cause serious and potentially life-threatening illness. Food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled.

What should consumers do about this recall?

Consumers are encouraged to check their fridge and/or freezer to see if they have the product in their home. To find out what products have been recalled, consumers should refer to the recalled products chart on the CFIA website.

I cooked ground beef that is part of this recall, is it safe to eat?

If you have already prepared and stored this meat (for example made chilli or spaghetti sauce), do not consume it. If you are unsure whether a product is part of the recall, the safest course of action is to throw it away: When in doubt, throw it out!

Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog,