How Maple Leaf Foods

Prevents Salmonella

We’re focusing our efforts on analyzing, monitoring and preventing Salmonella bacteria in our entire fresh poultry supply chain.

What is Salmonella?

Salmonella is a bacteria that occurs in live animals and can transfer to meat and poultry during processing.

Salmonella bacteria can also be found in the environment. Several strains of Salmonella exist that can cause illness. You may know them by Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella newport, Salmonella javiana and Salmonella heidelberg.

Chicken nuggets on a plate
Checking temperature of chicken with a meat thermometer

Did You Know

All strains of Salmonella are destroyed through cooking to a specific temperature that should be validated with a thermometer.

But mistakes can occur. And when Salmonella is present on raw products like fresh chicken or pork, it’s possible to transfer the bacteria to products not intended for cooking, like raw fruits, vegetables and salads, for example.

How we’re preventing Salmonella on our products

In 2015 based on trends we saw in North America, we knew we needed to get ahead of Salmonella. We recognized the risk it posed to consumers and decided we needed to analyze every step in our production processes to find better ways to prevent all forms of Salmonella on the products we sell. We called this effort our ‘Maple Leaf Foods Salmonella Reduction Strategy’.
We analyzed our production processes from where we obtain hatching eggs, the hatcheries, the farms where we raise chicks, and to the plants where we process them. We identified steps we could take to reduce Salmonella through increased sanitation, vaccination of chicks, changes to the feed and water we give our animals, antimicrobial carcass washes in our plants, and by fully cooking chopped and formed breaded products that we previously sold partially cooked and frozen. 
We also began looking even harder for Salmonella through aggressive testing so we could identify problems before they became food safety issues.
Thanks to our Salmonella Reduction Project, today we find Salmonella in our birds at a fraction of the frequency we found it before, and our results are among the best in the Canadian and American meat and poultry industries.

Chickens drinking water
We learned there is no single “silver bullet” to prevent Salmonella all of the time. But by applying multiple strategies from our farms through to our plants, we offer the best possible protection against Salmonella. And by emphasizing the need to cook our products properly according to package directions as a final step, we can ensure that our products are safe when served.
Production line at Maple Leaf Foods plant in Saskatoon

Making safe food

How we will do everything we can to make our products safe for you and your family to enjoy.