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Maple Leaf Foods Responds to Parliamentary Sub-Committee Report “Beyond Listeriosis: Strengthening the Canadian Food Safety System”

TORONTO, Jun 18, 2009 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) — Maple Leaf Foods (MFI:TSX) today responded to the report of the Agriculture Sub-Committee investigating the listeriosis crisis of last year, which was caused by contaminated meat products originating from Maple Leaf’s Bartor Road plant that claimed the lives of 22 Canadians.

“The Committee has produced a comprehensive report that has important implications for advancing the strength of the Canadian food system,” said Michael McCain, President and CEO. “These recommendations build on the tough new listeria policy implemented by the CFIA in April. The sub-committee report provides clear direction for further improvements, and we will be full participants in that process.”

    In terms of key recommendations and improvements, Maple Leaf reinforces
the following:

    -   All food for sale in Canada, whether it is produced in federally or
        provincially inspected plants or imported from other countries,
        should meet a consistent and enforced national standard. The
        patchwork of existing regulatory regimes cannot continue.

    -   Maple Leaf supports the call for a comprehensive review of CFIA
        resources, recognizing that there must be sufficient inspectors to
        ensure compliance with tough new standards, and trained to conduct
        sophisticated root cause investigation of test results to identify
        potential risks.

    -   Maple Leaf continues to advocate for any changes that result in
        faster identification of proven food safety risk, whether through
        increased inter-governmental and agency coordination or through
        accelerated testing and expansion of laboratory capacity.

“As a result of our responsibility for the listeria tragedy we had to improve, we did, and we will continuously,” continued Mr. McCain. “We have implemented food safety protocols based on global best practices in extensive testing, training and technology. Maple Leaf will continue to take an advocacy role in the pursuit of improved practices across the industry, freely sharing our lessons learned and new approaches to food safety that contribute to a world class system for Canadians,” concluded Mr. McCain.

SOURCE: Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

Linda Smith, (416) 457-1814 or (416) 926-2020