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Food Safety Key to Developing Global Brand Identity for Canadian Food Products

Toronto, ON – Michael H. McCain, President and Chief Executive Officer of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., today urged government and industry players to work together to build a global reputation and brand for Canadian food products based on food safety assurance.

“Canada has an excellent international reputation as a leading food producer based on our vast geography, climate and stringent regulatory environment for food production,” said Mr. McCain. “Simply put, Canada is a great place to produce safe, wholesome food for the world. We’re doing a good job in the area of food safety, but we need to do a great job. To build real competitive advantage, we need to differentiate our ‘Made in Canada’ brand by building a global reputation for food safety.”

With high profile global outbreaks of food borne pathogens and diseases such as BSE and foot and mouth, consumer demands for food safety assurance are increasing. Traceability, which is the ability to track a food product from feed to farm through to processing and distribution, is the cornerstone from which Canada’s agri-food industry could build a leadership role in food safety assurance. Internationally, Japan and the European Union are demanding increasing levels of traceability to ensure food safety and quality. No country has established capabilities and regulatory systems in place to provide full traceability of food products.

“Traceability is what is needed to distinguish Canadian food products and differentiate the ‘Made-in-Canada’ brand,” continued Mr. McCain. “Based on the platform of food safety, the Canadian agri-food sector has the opportunity to build a global standard and reputation for other food products similar to what we have achieved for Canadian pork and what New Zealand has done for lamb. To achieve a leadership position for Canada will require the full support and cooperation of the public and private sectors.”

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX: MFI) is a leading Canadian food processing company committed to delivering quality food products to consumers around the world. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the Company employs more than 14,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, Europe and Asia. Maple Leaf Foods had sales of $4.7 billion in 2001.

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