Maple Leaf identifies source of listeria contamination

08-09-2008 | |

Maple Leaf Foods have released an update regarding its investigation into the likely cause of a Listeria monocytogenes contamination at its plant in Toronto, Ontario.

After careful study of the records, the physical plant and product test results received from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), internal and external experts have concluded that the most likely source was a possible collection point for bacteria located deep inside the mechanical operations of two slicing machines on lines 8 and 9.
Rigorous sanitisation
Rigorous sanitisation of this equipment was completed on a daily basis in accordance with or exceeding the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. However, upon full disassembly, areas were found where bacteria may accumulate deep inside the slicing machines and avoid the sanitisation process. There were also other environmental factors, not on product contact surfaces, that may have contributed to the contamination.
“We deeply regret this incident and the impact it has had on people’s lives,” said Michael McCain, President and CEO. “We have the highest food safety standards and we have worked around the clock and left no stone unturned to identify the root cause and eliminate the source of this contamination. Throughout this crisis we have done whatever it takes to place our consumers’ interests and public health first. It’s now up to us to earn back your confidence.”
Full cooperation
“We are fully co-operating with the CFIA as they continue their investigation and conduct due diligence and verification. The plant will not re-open and no products will be released until the CFIA and Maple Leaf are confident in the effectiveness of the enhanced food safety protocols in place,” continued Mr. McCain.
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