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From: TSS (216-119-143-85.ipset23.wt.net)
Subject: XL FOODS INC. FIGHTING RELEASE OF MAD COW SRM VIOLATIONS
Date: August 19, 2004 at 7:14 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: XL FOODS INC. FIGHTING RELEASE OF MAD COW SRM VIOLATIONS
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 21:20:30 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy


Thursday, Aug 19, 2004

Meat packer fights to keep federal documents sealed


By JOHN COTTER
Canadian Press

Edmonton  One of Canada's largest beef-packing companies is fighting
the release of reports on violations of new federal meat hygiene
regulations imposed due to mad cow disease.

XL Foods Inc. is challenging in Federal Court a decision by the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency to release the reports under the Access to
Information Act, say court documents.

The dispute is over a request for all monthly inspection reports and
monthly audit reports for federally regulated slaughterhouses produced
since July 24, 2003 that detail violations or deviations from the
Specified Risk Material Policy.

Ottawa ordered the industry in July 2003 to improve its slaughter
practices by removing risk materials such as brain and spinal columns
from cattle that may transmit mad cow disease.

Edmonton-based XL Foods, with operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan,
has been fighting since January against the public release of the
slaughterhouse violations, CFIA spokesman Alain Charette said Thursday.

XL is the only company that challenges the release of that
information, Mr. Charette said from Ottawa.

XL Foods officials declined to comment on its application for a judicial
review of the food inspection agency's decision to release the information.

The company wants the court to quash the CFIA's decision and is seeking
an order to keep such reports confidential pending the court's ruling,
says the application.

XL Foods maintains the decision was made without jurisdiction and in a
capricious manner without adequate regard for its position.

As the matter is presently before the courts, and the court has
directed that the proceedings be kept confidential, XL is not in a
position to comment, said Robert Anderson, XL Foods' corporate counsel.

Some of the inspection reports were released by the food inspection
agency in February.

They list major and minor problems at some slaughterhouses across Canada
 in most cases within a few months of the new hygiene rules.

For example, an inspection at the Canada Custom Slaughtering Inc. plant
in Ontario in September 2003 noted that carcasses of animals over 30
months of age must be segregated, and that separate knives and saws must
be used when removing specified risk material.

Inspectors at Pitt Meadow Meats Ltd., in British Columbia, noted
problems with the new hygiene rules, including revised SRM (specified
risk material) protocol required.

Other less serious problems were noted by inspectors during the same
time period at Lakeside Packers in Alberta and smaller plants in Quebec
and Ontario.

In the reports, inspectors called for immediate action to fix major
problems or gave the plants a few weeks to take corrective action.

There were no documents released for XL Foods, but one page of the
report was withheld by the CFIA pending a section 44 review by the
Federal Court.

The federal government brought in the tougher slaughterhouse rules two
months after mad cow disease was found in a breeder cow in northern
Alberta in May 2003.

The single case prompted the United States to close its border to
Canadian beef. While the U.S. has since allowed imports of boneless beef
cuts, the border remains closed to the lucrative live cattle trade.

Producers estimate the mad cow situation has cost them more than $2-billion.

No date has been set for the Federal Court to hear XL Foods' application.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040819.wmooo0819/BNStory/National/

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2004/08/19/592545-cp.html

TSS





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