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Capital Packers’ pork plant re-licensed

Edmonton’s lone remaining federally-licensed meat packing plant can get back to business after a listeria-related recall and a federally-enforced shutdown.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Friday it has lifted the suspension on the federal operating license for Capital Packers, effective last Wednesday (Dec. 5), following “additional food safety testing and a thorough food safety investigation.”

CFIA pulled the plant’s license last month, saying Nov. 23 that “adequate controls for food safety are not being reliably implemented in the facility on a consistent basis” and the family-owned company had “failed to correct deficiencies previously identified” through its inspections.

Capital had voluntarily recalled its ham sausages sold in 300-gram packages under its own Capital brand, and in 375-gram packages under the Sobeys grocery store chain’s house brand, Compliments; both were packaged with date codes of Dec. 26 (2012 DE 26).

Having reviewed the company’s action plan, CFIA said Friday it had found “the corrective action request related to recall procedures and traceback (has) been met and that the company has adequate controls in place to meet federal food safety standards.”

The privately held company, which has been a federally-licensed processor since the 1960s, said last month that CFIA had cited an “ineffective recall program” and the ham sausage recall was “not directly related to the suspension.”

The recall was issued, the company said, “because there was found to be a positive for listeria on (a uniform) sleeve (on an employee) working on a packaging equipment line. So we felt it was important to recall this product to ensure food safety in the marketplace.”

Capital’s operations will be subject to “intensified monitoring” by CFIA inspectors until further notice, the agency said Friday.

Deadlines have been set for Capital to put “other corrective action plans” in place to respond to agency requests related to “general sanitation and maintenance issues” such as building maintenance, ventilation and storage, CFIA said.

While CFIA had said in November that other Capital product lines “may be implicated,” the agency said Friday its investigation has found “no additional potentially unsafe products in the marketplace.”

Related story:
CFIA pulls Edmonton pork packer’s license, Nov. 23, 2012

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