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Cargill boosts Alta. beef output after XL closure

Wanted to ensure adequate Canadian beef supply

Cargill Ltd. has boosted beef production at its southern Alberta packing plant, after the temporary shutdown on Friday of rival XL Foods' facility.

Cargill said it increased production at its plant at High River, Alta., about 45 km south of Calgary, to ensure an adequate supply of beef is available for Canadian consumers, spokesman Mike Martin told Reuters on Monday.

"We do not know for certain how long this will last, but expect it to be a short-term situation," Martin said.

On Friday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) temporarily shut down privately held XL Foods' beef-packing plant at Brooks, Alta., where products became contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.

Five days' worth of production from the XL plant at Brooks, about 180 km east of Calgary, has been recalled, including ground beef and steaks.

Martin declined to say how much Cargill had boosted production, but said it was slaughtering 4,500 head of cattle daily before the recent changes.

Cargill and XL are the two biggest beef processors in Canada. -- Reuters

Related stories:

CFIA yanks license for XL's Brooks beef plant,
Sept. 28, 2012
Illnesses lead to warning over Edmonton store's steaks,
Sept. 27, 2012


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