Brooks beef plant gets set to reopen
Published Monday, October 22, 2012 12:54PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, October 22, 2012 6:37PM MDT
The XL Foods Lakeside plant in Brooks says it will start training employees in anticipation of reopening the plant next week.
Plant management is hoping to resume meat cutting operations at the plant on October 29 and ran an ad on local radio to inform the workers on Monday.
Workers were told that training would be available to all employees on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of this week.
All those employees from A and B shift processing were told to go to the plant on Monday between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to pick up IDs and training schedules.
Workers on A and B shift slaughter are being told to report to the plant on Tuesday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to pick up their credentials and schedules.
The plant has been shut down since September 27 after E. coli was detected in hundreds of beef products that were processed at the plant.
The company taking over management of the plant, JBS USA, met with employees in Brooks on Monday to talk about the company’s plans for the plant.
Doug O’Halloran, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, said the meetings are a good sign.
"It's certainly a step in the right direction because we've had no communication with XL, so the fact that JBS has reached out and wants to have a discussion I think bodes well," he said.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has said test samples from meat processed at the plant last week came back free of E. coli but it has not reinstated XL Foods' operating licence.
Lisa Gauthier, a CFIA spokesperson, told CTVNews.ca Monday that the agency is still drafting a final report based on its inspections of the plant. She said no decision has been made on when the facility will be able to resume full operations.
Without a licence, XL Foods’ workers can still undergo food safety training at the plant and cut meat to demonstrate proper handling of the animal carcasses, but the beef cannot go out on the market.
The food agency is finishing a review of hygiene, meat-handling and sanitation procedures and all the beef from the extensive recall is being dumped at a landfill.
(With files from The Canadian Press and ctvnews.ca)