Maple Leaf Bartor Road Plant Resumes Production
TORONTO, Sep. 17, 2008 - Maple Leaf Foods (MFI:TSX) today announced that it is resuming production at its Bartor Road facility in Toronto, following the completion of a comprehensive pre-operation inspection conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ("CFIA"). Maple Leaf voluntarily closed the plant after certain products were found to contain listeria.
"This plant has undergone intensive investigation, deep sanitizations and testing to ensure that the listeria contamination linked to the recent outbreak has been eradicated." said Michael McCain, President and CEO. "While we have always practiced the highest level of vigilance, we are implementing even more rigorous food safety standards going forward, which are best practice in Canada and the industry."
The Bartor Road facility has undergone six intensive sanitizations, well beyond normal cleaning practices, under the supervision of microbiologists and sanitation experts.
Slicing equipment has been completely disassembled and deep cleaned and tested multiple times. Slicing equipment across the Company is subject to daily disassembly prior to daily cleaning and regularly scheduled intensive disassembly to verify elimination of potential harborage points, well beyond industry standards.
The effectiveness of the sanitization effort has been verified through recent extensive testing, including more than 1,200 swab tests for listeria from various points on all production lines and throughout the plant.
We have enhanced our regular environmental Listeria monitoring program, more than doubling the sampling sites and frequency of testing.
The plant will resume production over a phased-in period. No products will be released until the CFIA and Maple Leaf are fully satisfied that food safety protocols in place at the Bartor Road plant are effective. Test runs of products will also be completed before any new product is distributed from the plant.
"Throughout this incident we have steadfastly placed consumers' interests first" concluded Mr. McCain. "Now we must completely restore their confidence in the quality and integrity of our products."
Maple Leaf Foods is a leading food processing company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 23,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia. The Company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2007.
SOURCE Maple Leaf Foods Inc.For further information: Investor Inquiries Contact: Lynda Kuhn,
(416) 926-7031; Media Inquiries Contact: Linda Smith, (905) 285-6721