The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended the licence of a meat processing company after finding listeria monocytogenes on the sleeve of an employee.
The CFIA said adequate controls for food safety are not being fully implemented and that Capital Packers Inc. has failed to consistently meet federal food safety standards.
CFIA is taking precautionary action based on the finding of a positive sample from the sleeve of a uniform and stressed the pathogen has not yet been found on food products at the site in Edmonton, Alberta.
The company had advised the CFIA that the products produced on the day of the positive finding were under control. However, the CFIA determined that product produced on the affected line may have been distributed to several provinces.
Within a few hours of determining that the operator had failed to take measures to correct deficiencies with their recall program, the CFIA delivered a notice of suspension.
Capital Packers is recalling all products produced on the specific line associated with the listeria monocytogenes detection including Capital brand 300 gram ham sausages and Compliments brand 375 gram ham sausages.
The company also has six additional lines that may be implicated and the CFIA and the firm are doing additional sampling on these lines.
The CFIA is working with Capital Packers to identify where the product was distributed by tracing it through the supply chain from production, to manufacturer and on to retail.
The CFIA has issued a number of corrective action requests and has determined that the company has been unable to effectively demonstrate that it has acceptable plans in place that address corrective action requests and respond to these issues over the longer-term. It is also unable to demonstrate that it has effective processes in place to keep track of its production.
Capital Packers produces ready-to-eat and non-ready-to-eat meats.
Since 1 April, 2012, the CFIA issued 11 corrective action requests to Capital Packers and five of those corrective action requests are still open.
The company also had its licence temporarily suspended for a week in September 2011 for issues related to ventilation and condensation.
In a statement published by management on the Capital Packers website the firm said they are working closely with the CFIA to rectify the situation in a timely manner.
“In the contents of the suspension letter handed to us by CFIA at 4:30 pm Thursday, Nov 22, 2012, our license was suspended due to an ineffective recall program.
“The ham sausage recall that is underway is not directly related to the suspension however we are voluntarily recalling this product because there was found to be a positive for listeria on an employee sleeve working on a packaging equipment line.
“So we felt it was important to recall this product to ensure food safety in the market place.”
All products at the plant are under CFIA detention and control and it will not reopen until the company has fully implemented the corrective actions and the CFIA is confident in the plant's capacity to effectively manage food safety risks.