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Foreign ownership exemption allows takeover of troubled Alberta beef plant

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EDMONTON - The Alberta government has cleared the way for a subsidiary of a Brazilian-based agri-food giant to buy a meat packing plant that was at the centre of the largest meat recall in Canadian history.

The province has approved an exemption to its Foreign Ownership of Lands Regulation, which allows JBS Canada to formally purchase the XL Foods operation in Brooks, Alta.

JBS took over management of XL Foods in October with an option to buy after an E. coli bacteria outbreak led to the recall.

Normally, the regulation limits foreign interests from owning more than two parcels of rural land of no more than eight hectares each.

But Mike Berezowsky, a spokesman for Service Alberta, says an exemption can be granted if there's an economic benefit to the province.

The government's order-in-council approving the exemption was approved Dec. 21, but was only made public Thursday. (CKUA)

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