EDMONTON — The union representing XL Foods employees is concerned about food safety at the plant and is calling for a public inquiry as the number of people ill with E.coli associated with contaminated beef increased to 12 on Wednesday.
“We are calling on [the plant] to take it seriously. You can replace all the aluminum, all the stainless steel you want at the plant, but if you don’st give your workers the tools to perform the job properly, we’sre not going to solve this problem,” said Doug O’Halloran, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 in a press conference.
O’Halloran explained that plant employees make between 3,000 and 4,000 meat cuts per day, leaving scant time to perform safety checks.
Meanwhile, the plant executives responded to the union. “I am saddened that the UFCW has chosen to attack the workmanship of its many members. We have extensive training programs for new workers and hold our workers in the highest regard for their abilities,” said Brian Nilsson, co-CEO of XL Foods.
The XL food plant remains closed while the CFIA investigation continues.