Safety measures boosting consumer confidence, says Maple Leaf
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Safety-measures-boosting-consumer-confidence-says-Maple-Leaf
By staff reporter, 22-Jan-2009
Maple Leaf Foods claims consumer confidence in its products is being restored following the recall of its sliced meat products linked to widespread illness and the deaths of about 20 people.
Last month the company settled consumer lawsuits filed in the wake of the listeriosis contamination in August to the tune of CAN$27m (US$22.5m).
The meat processor identified Listeria lurking deep inside two meat-slicing machines as the most likely source of the contamination, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requested that all federally inspected plants with similar equipment conduct a systematic and thorough cleaning procedure.
The company said that its first response to the listeria outbreak was to take accountability for what had occurred, to recall its products, and to commit to addressing the problem.
In that regard, the processor said that it has since implemented new ways of mitigating the risk of listeria in its products through new food safety protocols across its 24 packaged meat facilities including new sanitation protocols to ensure effective reduction for the potential for bacterial harbourage points in building and equipment.
The new safety measures, continued the company, also include consultation with industry leaders and microbiologists to adopt best practices in the early detection of the pathogen and the doubling of testing sites and frequency of sampling on all its production runs.
“Biosecure handwashing and sanitization stations with automatic soap and sanitizer dispensers as well as comprehensive boot scrubbing system before entering ‘ready-to-eat’ plant areas are in place in many facilities and are being rolled out across the entire network,” continued the meat processor.
It said that traceability exercises are performed quarterly to test its ability to trace product shipments through the supply chain to ensure the processor can quickly respond in the event of any furture food safety issues.
The company added that its new chief food safety officer, Dr Randall Huffman, will also identify and assess global best operating practices, technologies, ingredients and resources, while it claims third party audits of the facilities by independent food safety experts will measure compliance and continuous improvement on an annual basis.
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