October 1, 2012 / 7:50 PM / 6 years ago

Cargill ups Alberta beef output after XL Foods closure

A logo is pictured on the building of Cargill International SA in Geneva August 4, 2009. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

(Reuters) - Cargill Ltd has boosted beef production at its High River, Alberta, plant, after the temporary shutdown on Friday of rival XL Foods’ facility.

Cargill said it increased production 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, Alberta, where products became contaminated with E coli bacteria. Five days’ worth of production from the XL plant 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.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Jim Marshall

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