JBS, whose headquarters are in Brazil, is one of the world's largest meat processors. The company has a huge operation in the US having bought out Swifts some time ago. The XL Foods plant in Brooks Alberta was closed in the fall during the recall for E. coli contamination.
Just before the plant resumed operations in October, JBS was brought in to manage t
he plant in a deal that also gave them exclusive rights to buy both the Canadian and US operations of XL Foods. Many in the Alberta cattle industry welcomed the possibility of a sale as they were worried about the future of the plant. A spokesperson for JBS says there is no time-line for a sale. The company also says
that the agreement will give the company an opportunity to enter the Canadian market and also assist in the management of XL Foods. Cameron Bruett,
head of corporate communications at JBS USA said:
“We saw this as a wonderful opportunity to expand our North American operation and provide great Canadian beef not only in Canada, but around the world."
Doug O'Halloran, president of UFCW local 401
said he believed the agreement is a positive step:
"I've been calling since this began for new ownership or new management, and I think the Nilsson brothers were out of their league, so I don't see this as a bad thing. It couldn't get much worse than it is, and if this new company is prepared to do some of the things that we've been looking for … I think we'll have a great working relationship, and I understand in the U.S. we have a good working relationship"
The Nilsson brothers of Edmonton are the present owners. While JBS may be a much larger organization, they also
have experience with meat recalls.
"On June 24, 2009 the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that JBS Swift Beef Company, a Greeley, Colo. establishment, recalled approximately 41,280 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. By June 30, the recall had risen to over 421,000 pounds."