JBS To Reach Out To XL Foods Union, Community

BROOKS, Alta. (CANADIAN PRESS) — The union and company taking over management of a troubled Alberta meat packer say they want to work together to make the XL Foods plant a success.

JBS USA operates eight beef plants in the United States and all employees are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

A JBS official says plans are to have a team at the plant in Brooks, Alta., as soon as possible that will reach out to the union and the community.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is reviewing how the plant is managing its E. coli procedures to determine when it can reopen — it was closed Sept. 27 due to tainted meat that has been linked to 15 people getting sick in Canada and which caused an extensive meat recall.

Doug O'Halloran, president of the union local, says he is cautiously optimistic about JBS and adds the company has food safety expertise that will help XL Foods regain access to the U.S. market.

JBS has had its own E. coli problems, including a 2009 recall in the U.S. of 172,000 kilograms of beef after 17 people became ill.