U.S. FDA refuses salmonella-tainted Canada canola

Thu Aug 6, 2009 5:31pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration refused shipments on July 13 of Canadian canola meal from Associated Proteins, owned by Viterra Inc, and bulk canola from Cargill Ltd because they were tainted with salmonella, FDA records show.

Cargill's canola shipments into the United States faced more scrutiny since the FDA refused a shipment of its salmonella-tainted canola meal March 11. Both that shipment and the canola shipment stopped last month originated at its recently expanded plant in Clavet, Saskatchewan.

Viterra bought Associated Proteins, based in Ste. Agathe, Manitoba, in late June and said at the time that its acquisition had never had a positive salmonella test in its canola meal.

Viterra said on Thursday that the meal left its Associated Proteins plant without contamination.

The company sold the meal to a customer who was allowed to take it into the United States after samples were taken at the border, a Viterra spokesperson said. When the customer was later notified the shipment may be contaminated, Viterra sent its own samples taken earlier at the plant to an independent lab.

Lab results show no sign of contamination, Viterra said.

Part of Cargill's Clavet plant was shut down for routine maintenance at the time the FDA stopped the shipment, said spokesman Robert Meijer.

"We're still operating, we're still supplying our domestic customers," Meijer said. He said Cargill is working with the FDA on steps to ensure salmonella "is appropriately controlled" at the Saskatchewan plant.   Continued...