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Maple Leaf Foods Initiates Industry-Leading DNS Traceability Program for Pork

Maple Leaf Foods
Inc. today announced that it is proceeding with
the first phase of an innovative traceability
project that will eventually allow tracing of
its pork products from the store shelf back to
the farm of origin.

“Traceability has become the Holy Grail of the
food processing industry,” said Michael H.
McCain, President and Chief Executive Officer of
Maple Leaf Foods. “Canadian consumer concerns
over food safety are increasing, while
internationally, Japan and the European Union
are demanding increasing levels of traceability
to ensure product integrity. This investment
will support our leadership in food safety
innovation, and ultimately offer consumers an
added level of assurance when they buy our Maple
Leaf products.”

Maple Leaf has selected Pyxis Genomics Inc. to
develop a panel of genes that will support phase
one of the traceability project. Through the
development of DNA fingerprinting, the system
will in future allow tracking of any pork
product back to the farm where it originated.
The Company expects this phase to be completed
by the end of 2003, and to be fully capable of
providing traceability for its products within
the next 18 to 24 months.

“Pyxis Genomics is committed to genomic research
for animal health that enhances food safety and
quality. We are honoured to be selected to
develop the gene panel for this important
project,” said Dr. Lawrence B. Schook, President
and Chief Scientific Officer of Pyxis Genomics

Pyxis Genomics Inc. is a privately-held animal
genomics company headquartered in Chicago,
Illinois. Pyxis Genomics Canada is a
wholly-owned subsidiary based in Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan. Founded in 1999, Pyxis Genomics is
a world leader in maximizing the health and
performance of animal through its products,
platforms and tools. As a global genomics-based
animal health company, Pyxis Genomics discovers,
develops and commercializes its own products and
services to treat and cure animal diseases,
enhance animal fitness, and increase
productivity through nutritional intervention.

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 18,000
people at its operations across Canada and in
the United States, Europe and Asia. Maple Leaf
Foods had sales of $5.1 billion in 2002.