The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has said it will only allow XL Foods to resume full operations once it has determined the plant has fully implemented effective food safety controls.

Canada suspended the plant’s licence to export beef to the US earlier this month, after initially being alerted by authorities there to a positive e. coli reading in beef trimmings. Concerns have since spread to Canada.

Food officials had allowed XL Foods to partially resume operations at its Alberta meat processing plant while it continues to review the facility, however, inspections were halted last week after the company laid off around 2,000 workers. The firm said CFIA had not provided a definitive timeline for relicensing of the facility.

Around 800 of those workers were recalled at the weekend in order for the inspection to continue, but CIFA told just-food today (17 October) that inspectors are working at the site to contact a full “pre-operational inspection” to ensure all areas of the plant, including equipment, are “clean and in good working order”.

“The CFIA will allow the plant to resume normal operations only once we have determined that the plant has fully and consistently implemented effective controls to manage food safety risks”, a spokesperson for CIFA told just-food.

The CFIA has authorised the controlled movement of some meat products currently under detention from the plant to rendering, a high-temperature disposal method. Shipments will move under “strict CFIA oversight”, it said, and none of the rendered material will enter the food system.