Brazilian company buys XL Foods plant involved in E. coli meat recall last year
XL Foods Lakeside plant in Brooks, Alta.
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2013 6:47PM MST
EDMONTON -- The XL Foods meat packing plant that was at the centre of the largest meat recall in Canadian history has been acquired by the subsidiary of a Brazilian company.
JBS South America says its Canadian division, JBS Food Canada, expects to complete the purchase of the XL operations in Brooks, Alta., on Monday.
Other related XL assets are included in the transaction, but financial details were not disclosed.
JBS took over management of the XL Foods facility in October when an E. coli bacteria outbreak led to the massive meat recall.
As part of the agreement, JBS had an option to buy the facility after the plant was shut down weeks earlier.
Last month the Alberta government approved an exemption to its Foreign Ownership of Lands Regulation for the JBS acquisition, saying that the purchase was considered an economic benefit to the province.
The Brooks plant has the capacity to process up to 4,000 cattle per day.
JBS will also acquire the rights to a nearby feedlot and adjacent farmland, as well as a beef packing plant in Calgary.
XL Foods also agreed to give the U.S. subsidiary of JBS an option to acquire its U.S. operations, pending regulatory approval south of the border.
"We have determined that the Canadian operations will serve as an important asset to our strategic global beef production model," said Bill Rupp, president and chief operating officer of JBS USA Beef.
Documents obtained by CBC on Wednesday showed that XL Foods management had been warned by Canadian Food Inspection Agency staff about the conditions of the plan six times before the outbreak.
Inspectors issued the six warnings from January to September 2012, when the plant was closed.