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New Managers At XL Foods Plant Promise Big Changes

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XL Foods Takeover: JBS Managers at XL Foods plant promise big changes | Alamy

The head of JBS says things will be different when the XL Foods meat processing plant in Brooks, Alta., reopens on Monday. It's been at the centre of a massive beef recall connected to E. coli contamination.

The company expects consumer-ready beef to be leaving the plant by the end of the day.

JBS management held a news conference in Brooks Thursday and CEO Bill Rupp laid out 10 things he believes in as a leader.

He said the No. 1 issue right now is food safety, and JBS feels the responsibility lies with the company and not the government.

Rupp is also promising that the line speed at the plant will initially be slower.

"We're going to do a lot of on-the-job training of exactly how we believe those jobs need to be performed," said Rupp.

The union representing workers had complained the line speed was part of the problem behind food safety issues.

'Don't have to be a jerk' to highlight problems

JBS says current managers at the Brooks plant will be back Monday when it reopens, but JBS staff will be onsite to oversee the beef processing.

"Nobody oughta have to work for a jerk," said Rupp. "And I sit here as a reformed jerk, and I know I have jerk tendencies. It really sends a message through the organization. I mean if somebody's doing something wrong or not performing to where it needs to be you don't have to be a jerk to have that conversation."

The company says it believes its safety measures will help restore Canadian confidence in the meat processing industry

The Brooks plant employs about 2,200 people. JBS says there is no firm date for buying XL Foods, as the company's first priority is to get the Brooks plant up and running first.

JBS USA, whose Brazilian parent company claims it is the world's largest animal protein processor, will run the XL plant for 60 days and has an exclusive option to buy the Canadian and U.S. operations of XL Foods.

XL will continue to manage its other Canadian and U.S. operations during the option period.

The company also announced it will be giving $20,000 to the Brooks food bank, which saw a spike in traffic after roughly 2,000 XL workers were laid off on Oct. 13.

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