A Brazilian conglomerate is assuming management of a Canadian beef processor at the center of Canada's largest recall due to bacterial contamination.
In a statement, JBS USA, a subsidiary of JBS S.A. of Brazil, said it reached agreement to manage the troubled family-run XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta, the Globe and Mail said.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered the plant closed Sept. 27, idling some 2,000 workers after E. coli contamination made at least 15 people in Canada sick.
XL Foods also exports various meat products to 20 other countries.
The U.S. division of JBS S.A. will oversee XL's Canadian operations and also leave an option open to purchase it for $50 million and $50 million in JBS shares.
JBS spokesman Cameron Bruett said he expected a decision on the purchase would be made within six months.
Earlier this week, food inspectors allowed 800 laid-off workers to return to the Brooks plant to process thousands of carcasses in cold storage under strict supervision. It took two days to complete, but the regulator hasn't indicated if the processing was satisfactory.