Unsanitary conditions persist in listeria-stricken meat plant
November 9, 2009
OTTAWA, ON, Canada — Just weeks after reopening from a temporary shutdown for cleaning, a Maple Leaf Foods plant was found to have mold, slime and potentially hazardous meat debris, according to the Associated Press.
The plant, which was scrubbed top to bottom following an outbreak of listeria, was found by inspectors to still have a lack of hygiene "that people should be concerned about," the story stated.
According to the story, 22 people died and many more fell ill last year after eating meat from the plant that was tainted by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
During the month-long closure, employees were trained for several hours on plant cleanliness and television crews were invited to film crews sanitizing and disinfecting equipment and various surfaces, the story noted.
According to the article, during a checkup less than one month after the plant reopened, Canadian Food Inspection Agency staff found mold on the walls and floor, slime underneath a meat-trimming table, leftover meat on wheeled container bins and rusty equipment.
Bob Kingston, head of a federal food inspectors'' union, said: "We''re talking about a broom being taken from being used on the floor and now sweeping over top of finished product. We''re talking about wheels on carts used to move finished product that are exposed and are flinging contaminated moisture up onto finished product. In a normal operation that had not been through what they had been through, that might be a common occurrence. But in this facility, it''s very surprising that that would still be there. Because you would expect it to be spotless."
Maple Leaf Foods President Michael McCain says more than 200 new standard operating procedures have been instituted since the listeriosis outbreak, but they are "a lot for a company to take on all at once," the story added.
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