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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.