OTTAWA, Ont.—The meat processing company at the centre of an E. coli outbreak is recalling 800 workers it laid off only a day earlier, breaking an impasse that kept federal inspectors from completing their review of the operation.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s evaluation of XL Foods ground to a halt this weekend when the firm announced it temporarily was laying off 2,000 workers.
The Brooks, Alta.-based company blamed the layoff decision on the fact the federal government hadn’t given it a firm date for when it would get its licence back in order to fully resume operations.
But late yesterday afternoon, XL Foods put out a news release saying it was recalling 800 workers to help the CFIA finish its job.
The inspectors currently are halfway through a review of how XL employees process 5,100 beef carcasses.
If they’re satisfied with what they see, XL could get its licence back.
“We look forward to actively working with CFIA to bring this to a viable and timely resolution to allow the plant to recommence operations,” Brian Nilsson, co-CEO of XL Foods, said in a release.
That was a different tone than one the company struck just a day earlier, when it urged the CFIA to come to a “swift and viable resolution,” apparently without the help of the workers.