A beef processing plant that has been at the centre of a massive recall announced the temporary layoff Saturday of approximately 2,000 people.
The XL Foods facility has been idle since Sept. 27 while federal officials and the company deal with E. coli contamination that has been linked to 15 illnesses and has involved a recall of its products from across North America.
A company news release said its employees have been receiving full pay for the past three weeks, but the temporary layoffs are necessary because the Canadian Food Inspection Agency can’t indicate when the plant will get its licence back.
“We have paid our valued team members out of a commitment to our workforce and to assist them through this difficult time,” Brian Nilsson, co-CEO of XL, said in the news release.
“XL Foods is committed to the best interests of the cattle industry, our employees, the city of Brooks and all affected by the idling of the Brooks facility. We are hopeful that the CFIA will bring this to a swift and viable resolution.”
The CFIA approved a limited reopening but said no meat could leave the facility until it has approved a full reopening.
In a statement late Saturday, the CFIA said it had been overseeing the cutting of carcasses in the plant that had tested negative for E. coli, but it said the company decided to stop operations after cutting only about half the carcasses, and as a result, the agency said it was unable to complete its assessment.If you click through to the CFIA statement, it sounds as if the agency and the company are in some kind of conflict that they won't quite admit.