%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) _ Swift and Co. resumed slaughter operations Wednesday evening at a plant closed last week because of recurring fecal contamination problems.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture declined to disclose details of the changes Swift and Co. proposed to its operations to prevent recurrences. Inspectors decided the plan was potentially effective, spokesman Steven Cohen said, declining to elaborate.

USDA inspectors left the former ConAgra Beef plant Friday, after repeatedly finding manure on carcasses. Slaughterhouses cannot process meat without federal inspectors on duty.

Swift spokesman Jim Herlihy said he did not know details of the company's revised procedures.

The plant has been cited 19 times since August for allowing contamination with feces, a breeding ground for E. coli bacteria. The plant was linked to 42 illnesses in eight states last summer and recalled 18.6 million pounds of ground beef after E. coli was found in meat processed at the plant.

The Greeley plant processes 1.3 million cattle annually and employs about 2,500 people.

ConAgra spun off the plant and the rest of its meat processing business as Swift and Co. last summer but retained 46 percent ownership. The rest is owned by an investment group led by Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst and Booth Creek Management.

___

On the Net:

Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/index.htm

Swift and Co.: http://www.swiftbrands.com