International meat packing giant JBS is moving closer to buying a southern Alberta plant at the centre of Canada’s largest-ever meat recall.

The province has cleared a regulatory hurdle for the purchase under foreign land ownership rules.

JBS took over operation of the Brooks plant from XL Foods in October after an E. coli scare that sickened 18 people nationwide.

The subsidiary was given an option to buy the plan and adjacent feedlot as well as other XL properties in Calgary and the United States.

A JBS spokesman tells The Calgary Herald the company is going through the proper regulatory process and they will notify the market when the deal has been finalized.