11/23/2012 07:27 EST | Updated 01/23/2013 05:12 EST

Edmonton meat-processing plant has licence suspended

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has suspended the licence of a meat-packing plant in Alberta, citing concerns over food safety.

The CFIA said Thursday that Capital Packers, which is in northeast Edmonton and employs about 100 people, hasn't fixed problems from previous inspections, and all products at the plant are under detention.

Two products have already been recalled because of concerns of possible listeriosis:

- Ham sausages sold in 300-gram packages under the brand name Capital.

- Ham sausages sold in 375-gram packages under the Compliments brand.

Both products, which may have been sold across the country, carry the code 2012-DE-26.

All Sobeys stores have been told to dispose of the meat, said spokesman Mike Lupien.

Customers are also advised to throw away the sausage and obtain a refund with the label or receipt, he said.

Brent Komarnicki, president of Capital Packers, told CBC News on Friday that the suspension is the result of an ineffective recall program, not tainted meat.

"The ham sausage recall that is underway is not directly related to the suspension," he said.

"However, we are voluntarily recalling this product because there was a positive for Listeria on an employee's sleeve working on this packaging equipment line.

"We felt it was important to recall this product, to ensure safety in the market place."

Listeriosis is a food-borne illness that can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea.

No illnesses reported

The company is keeping some employees at the plant "to finish off loose ends," but sent most workers home until the suspension is lifted, said Komarnicki.

The CFIA said its public warning may be updated if additional food products are identified as being a potential health risk. The agency said no illnesses have been reported.

"Capital Packers Inc. will not be able to resume operations until they have fully implemented the necessary corrective actions and the CFIA is fully confident in the plant's capacity to effectively manage food safety risks," the agency said in a news release.

On its website, Capital Packers describes itself as an 82-year-old, third-generation family-owned business.

This suspension comes after the CFIA suspended XL Foods' licence to operate its plant in Brooks, Alta., on Sept. 27 because of E. coli concerns. At least 18 people were made sick by tainted beef in four provinces, and the plant was closed for more than a month.

Earlier this week, the House of Commons passed legislation meant to modernize Canada's food inspection system.

While the legislation was not a direct response to September's XL Foods shutdown, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Bill S-11 would provide a "more consistent" approach to food inspection.