TORONTO, Aug. 23, 2008 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX News Network) -- In a press conference held this evening at the offices of Maple Leaf Foods in Toronto, company CEO and President Michael McCain responded to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada conclusion that the strain of listeria bacteria which is linked to the illness and death of several consumers matches the listeria strain identified in some Maple Leaf food products.
"Tragically, our products have been linked to illness and loss of life. To those people who are ill, and to the families who have lost loved ones, I offer my deepest and sincerest sympathies", said Mr. McCain. "Words cannot begin to express our sadness for their pain."
In light of these findings, the Company has made the decision to expand its product recall to include all production from the Bartor Road facility (Establishment No. 97B) as a further precautionary measure, notwithstanding the fact that there is no evidence of Listeria contamination in product beyond the production lines originally under investigation. We expect this additional recall to be implemented swiftly, and a list of specific products and codes will be published by tomorrow morning and will be available on the company website at www.mapleleaf.com. This weekend the company's Bartor Road processing plant remains closed during the most comprehensive sanitization possible, which should be complete early this coming week.
"This week our best efforts delivering the highest quality, safe food have failed us. For that we are deeply sorry. We know this has shaken consumer confidence in us. Our actions will continue to be guided by putting their interest first," said Mr. McCain.
The recall and retrieval of affected food products to date has been highly effective and we are confident that all measures that could be taken to ensure effective retrieval of affected product have and will continue to be taken.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading Canadian food processing company committed to delivering quality food products to consumers around the world. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the Company employs approximately 23,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2007.
SOURCE: Maple Leaf Foods Inc.Media Inquires Contact: Linda Smith, (905) 285-6721
French Media Contact: Roch Landriault 1-800-568-5801