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Hon. David Emerson Nominated to Board of Directors

TORONTO, March 29, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —Board Plans to Appoint Him as Chairman Following Annual Meeting

TSX: MFI
www.mapleleaffoods.com

Maple Leaf Foods today announced that
the Honourable David L. Emerson is being nominated to join the
Company’s Board as an independent director and will stand for election
at its Annual General Meeting on May 2, 2012. Subject to shareholder
approval of the nomination, the Board intends to appoint Mr. Emerson as
Chairman, replacing Purdy Crawford who will retire from the Board
following the annual meeting.

Mr. Emerson has extensive experience in Canada’s public and private
sectors. With the Government of Canada, he has served as the Minister
of Foreign Affairs, Minister of International Trade, and Minister of
Industry. In the private sector, Mr. Emerson was the President and CEO
of Canfor Corporation, President and CEO of the Vancouver International
Airport, and Chairman and CEO of Canadian Western Bank. He currently
serves on the Boards of Finning International Inc., Stantec Inc. and
Postmedia Networks Inc. Mr. Emerson holds a Doctorate in Economics from
Queen’s University.

Maple Leaf Foods also announced that directors Gordon Ritchie, Chaviva
Hošek and James Hankinson will not seek re-nomination at the May 2
Annual Meeting. As a result, the size of the Maple Leaf Board will
decrease from 13 to 10 directors following the meeting; eight of those
10 directors will be independent. McCain Capital Corporation and West
Face Capital Inc., the Company’s two largest shareholders, have both
indicated their support of these governance changes.

“We are very pleased to nominate the Honourable David Emerson to the
Maple Leaf Board,” said Purdy Crawford, Chairman. “He brings extensive
experience in the public and private sectors, proven leadership and new
perspectives to the Board. I also want to sincerely thank Chaviva,
James and Gordon for their many years of service and their significant
contribution in establishing Maple Leaf as a strong and increasingly
profitable company. I am honoured to have worked with this dedicated
board and participate in the growth of a great business. I am confident
that these changes will deliver the right balance of renewal and
continuity and further strengthen corporate governance at a time of
significant strategic transformation for Maple Leaf Foods.”

“I’m delighted to be nominated to the board of such a respected company
in the path worn by Purdy Crawford, a revered Canadian,” added David
Emerson
.

For further information, shareholders may read the 2012 Management Proxy
Circular, which will be available by early next week on SEDAR and under
the Investor Relations menu at www.mapleleaffoods.com.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company,
headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately
19,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States,
the United Kingdom, and Asia. The Company had sales of $4.9 billion in
2011.

SOURCE Maple Leaf Foods Inc.