Toronto, Ontario – February 24, 2009…Maple Leaf Foods today announced that it is proceeding with a voluntary recall of approximately 1,100 cases of wieners produced at its plant in Hamilton, Ontario because the products were shipped in violation of the company’s rigorous food safety protocols. The affected products are:
- Shopsy’s Deli Fresh All Beef Frankfurters, (Product Code 20730 and UPC 6487520730) with a Best Before date of AL22 and AL23 (April 22 and 23)
- Maple Leaf Hot Dogs Original, (Product Code 22356 and UPC 6310022356) with a Best Before date of AL23
Both products are sold in 450 gram packages and were distributed to customers in Eastern Canada. No other products are affected by this recall. There has been no illness reported as a result of consumption of these products and the risk to human health is extremely low. Consumers who may have these products in their refrigerators are advised not to consume them.
Under Maple Leaf’s stringent food safety protocols, the Company tests for listeria species, not Listeria monocytogenes. Six species of Listeria exist, but only one, Listeria monocytogenes, has any potential to impact human health. This is an extremely conservative approach as it treats any positive listeria test result with the highest level of corrective actions. Due to human error, a small quantity of wieners produced at the Hamilton plant that were quarantined under these routine enhanced procedures was inadvertently shipped to distribution centres and customers in Eastern Canada. 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.
“Unlike other situations, this event occurred as a direct result of human error and did not uphold our stringent industry leading protocols,” said Michael McCain, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. “Notwithstanding the exceptionally low risk this represents, Maple Leaf is committed to maintaining the most stringent standards and we intend to live by those standards so consumers can have absolute confidence in the integrity of our products. We are taking immediate action and will not condone anything other than strict adherence to our protocols.
“As we have seen with the wide range of food products which have been recalled to date in 2009, as enhanced surveillance becomes more pervasive in the food industry, positive listeria findings and related recalls will occur more frequently. This should be regarded positively as it provides assurance that the industry and government are acting swiftly to protect public health,” said Mr. McCain.
Maple Leaf has implemented the most stringent food safety system in Canada. This includes comprehensive daily testing across its packaged meat plants to detect the presence of Listeria species in the processing environment and on equipment, so that it can be eradicated through sanitization. The Company has conducted over 75,000 test samples since it implemented its enhanced environmental monitoring program last fall, with a positive incident rate of less than 1%, well below the U.S. industry average. At the Hamilton plant, nearly 2,100 environmental swabs as part of our regular program have been conducted in the past five months, with positive result rate of about 1%.
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.
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