The plant at the centre of an extensive beef recall has resumed shipping products for the first time since an E. coli outbreak forced its closure in September.

The union representing workers at the XL Foods Inc. plant in Brooks, Alta., says the shipments include a full range of products, including ground beef and steaks.

The beef has been packaged under the banner of JBS, which took over management of the Brooks plant from XL Foods last month.

Doug O'Halloran of the United Food and Commercial Workers union says employees at the plant are upbeat about the shipments and hopeful about the plant's future.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says once beef at the plant has tested negative for E. coli, it is allowed to enter the marketplace in Canada.

The agency says it will soon ask U.S. officials for permission to export beef from the plant to the U.S.

Market quickly changing

A leading researcher says Alberta cattle producers need to keep adapting to survive.

Andrea Brocklebank, of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said research shows the demand for beef is increasing.

“It's one of the driving proteins, and we see promise moving forward in terms of increased consumption of beef across the world as incomes rise in different populations.”

At least 63 per cent of Canadian beef products are sold domestically, said Brocklebank. The cattleman spokesperson told producers at a forum in Calgary on Wednesday that the market is becoming increasingly complex.

She said producers have to adapt to volatile markets, changing technology and pressure to become more productive.

“It's not just about selling your cattle and not paying attention to that market. It's about managing your risk, identifying your opportunities and being fairly strategic in that,” said Brocklebank.

Producer Brock Harrington said high commodity prices are driving up feed costs and the high Canadian dollar is driving down competitiveness.

“I think there's a funny picture now of a cowboy with his iPhone, with an app that's watching the cattle futures market all day and, sure, he's a cowboy, but he needs to be on top of the futures market to know where his products are going to be priced.”

And when things like E. coli hit the media, Brian Rogers said producers have to become marketing experts.

“We have to talk to consumers and make sure they know that what we're doing is safe and making them aware of our management practices, be it using hormones or animal safety,” Rogers said.

An 18th case of E. coli was linked Wednesday to the recall.

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  • Cook all ground beef and hamburger thoroughly. Also remember to check to make sure the meat isn't pink inside, since ground beef can turn brown on the outside before disease-causing bacteria are killed. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the thickest part of the meat are cooked to at least 160 degrees F. Source:

  • <span style="text-decoration:underline;"></span>If a restaurant serves undercooked meat send it back to be cooked thoroughly. recommends asking for a new bun and clean plate too. Source:

  • Ensure your kitchen is kept clean to prevent spread of bacteria. Always keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat food and wash hands, counters, thermometers, and utensils frequently. Also NEVER place cooked meat back on a plate that you kept the raw meat on. Source:

  • Drink only pasteurized milk, juice, or cider. Source:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Source:

  • Drink water that has been treated with chlorine or other effective disinfectants. Source:

  • Avoid swallowing lake or pool water when swimming. Source:

  • People suffering from diarrhea, especially children, should use extreme caution. Wash hands with soap (and after changing diapers) and avoid swimming in public places, sharing baths or preparing food for others. Source:

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  • Local Meat

    Hey, the time is good now as any. Drop by at a store that sells local and/or organic meat. Many major retail chains now supply local produce. Or stop by a farmers market. Heck, if you live in Alberta, you could walk (drive) over to the farm and really get to know where your food is coming from.

  • Beef From Other Plants

    There are other major beef producers that thankfully have been spared from the major recalls. Purchase meat from Cargill producers in Alberta perhaps?

  • Bison

    Maybe you could treat yourself to some bison if you're missing your medium-rare steak during the recall. Who knows, you may just come back for more!

  • Imported Meat

    Dare we say it... producers from around the country (and world) have safe beef for consumption. Maybe its time to look for temporary alternatives to get your steak from. Alberta beef will be back on the market soon anyway.

  • Beefalo

    Beefalo burgers anyone? This could be an opportunity to give these hybrid animals a taste if you've been contemplating trying beefalo for sometime.

  • Other Meats Like Chicken

    You love your beef and it loves you right back, but maybe you can take this opportunity to try out different foods. Now we don't mean tofu, but some butter chicken may be a refreshing addition to your plate.

  • Or Fish..

    Fresh halibut? Yes, please.