While all beef from the XL Foods Inc. recall will be destroyed, the fate of another huge quantity of the company’s beef — which shows no sign of a dangerous bacteria — remains unknown.
More than 5.5-million kilograms of beef from the Brooks plant was detained across the country during the crisis as a precautionary measure. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the meat, which includes steaks and roasts, has tested negative for the deadly E. coli bacteria.
The agency has given XL Foods three options for that meat.
“It could go to rendering, it could go to the landfill, it could go to cooking,” said Dr. Harpreet Kochlar, the CFIA’s executive director of western operations.
“We don’t have a plan presented by the company, so we can’t speculate.”
Regulations require the meat to undergo additional tests before it can be sent back to market.
An undisclosed quantity of recalled beef products returned to stores by consumers is not eligible for “reconditioning,” noted Paul Mayers, the CFIA’s associate vice-president of programs.
“Where product has remained in the control chain, options can be considered around the return of that product to a marketable state,” he said. “However, once product goes outside the chain, then product integrity can’t be assured.”
The detained meat from more than 5,000 carcasses at XL Foods tested negative for the E. coli bacteria, safety officials said Friday.
It’s still unknown when the Brooks facility will be allowed to reopen. The plant has been shuttered since Sept. 27, when the discovery of tainted beef prompted the federal government to revoke its operating license.
The CFIA plans to finalize its recommendations over the weekend after reviewing the plant’s E. coli control strategy, meat hygiene and overall sanitation practices.