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Maple Leaf Initiates Precautionary Recall of Nine Wiener Products

TORONTO, Aug. 4, 2009 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) — Maple Leaf Foods today announced it is proceeding with a recall of nine wiener products produced under the Hygrade, Shopsy’s and Maple Leaf brands at its plant in Hamilton, Ontario, due to the possibility that they may contain traces of Listeria monocytogenes.

This is a precautionary measure only. The Company is 100% in compliance with the Government of Canada’s new Listeria policy. The Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed that there have been no reported illnesses related to these products. Cooking hotdogs to steaming hot also kills any potential foodborne bacteria, such as Listeria.

“After last August’s tragedy, Maple Leaf is being ultra-cautious about Listeria,” said Dr. Randall Huffman, Chief Food Safety Officer for Maple Leaf Foods. “The Hamilton plant has a very strong food safety testing and sanitation program, and the Listeria monocytogenes found in random product samples is at very low levels. Listeria exists in all food plants and many consumer fridges. It is commonly found in the environment and one in 200 packages of all meat and poultry products in the marketplace will likely contain Listeria monocytogenes, even higher in other ready to eat foods. We take whatever steps we can to be cautious when we know specific lots that may be exposed, as a precautionary step. Listeria can never be eliminated but it can be effectively controlled. Maple Leaf is doing more aggressive and frequent Listeria testing at our plants than regulations require, and that means we’re finding it more and acting whenever there is a potential and even remote food safety risk.”

Maple Leaf has built a safety net of hold and test quarantine procedures; however, the effectiveness of product quarantine depends on rapid testing methods which the government have not yet approved. The product in question was produced during a period when test results were not yet available due to the excessively long lead time of currently government approved testing methods. We urge the Canadian government to approve commercially proven in-plant rapid testing methods which are now widely in use in the United States and Europe and Maple Leaf will immediately implement this technology at all our prepared meat plants to improve the effectiveness of our quarantine procedures.

    Products affected by this recall include:

    Product                            Size         UPC        BB Dates
    Hygrade Wieners                    450g    58640 00001     09 SE16
    Shopsy's Deli Fresh All Beef       675g    63100 14461     09 SE17
    Shopsy's All Beef Wieners          450g    64875 20730     09 SE08 and
                                                               09 SE17
    Shopsy's Deli Fresh Frankfurters   450g    64875 20745     09 SE08
    Maple Leaf Original Wieners        450g    63100 22356     09 SE08 and
                                                               09 SE17
    Maple Leaf Top Dogs All Beef       450g    63100 22395     09 SE08 and
     Wieners                                                   09 SE15

    Maple Leaf Top Dogs Original       450g    63100 22410     09 SE09,
     Wieners                                                   09 SE10 and
                                                               09 SE15
    Maple Leaf Top Dogs Original       450g    63100 22412     09 SE09
     Wieners BBQ Size
    Maple Leaf Top Dogs 33% Less       450g    63100 82334     09 SE08 and
     Fat Wieners                                               09 SE15

The “best before” date, the establishment number for the Hamilton plant “EST. 611” and Line 1 “L1” can be found on the inkjet stamp located on the sealed edge of the packaging and the UPC code is located on the back of the package. Note that products featuring an establishment code other than EST 611 or Line other than L1 are NOT affected by this recall. No other Maple Leaf products are affected by this recall.

All customers have been notified and product is immediately being removed from inventory or store shelves and returned to the Company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is overseeing the completion of the recall.

Consumers who have purchased these products are asked to contact our Consumer Response Line at 1-800-568-5801 to arrange to have the products replaced, or return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund or product replacement.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 24,000 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 2008.

SOURCE: Maple Leaf Foods Inc.


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