apologizes again for listeriosis deaths
of Article: http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/08/24/maple-leaf-anniversary-listeriosis.html
Last Updated: Monday, August 24, 2009 | 12:14 PM ET
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. took
out full-page ads in a number of Canadian newspapers to mark the one-year
anniversary of the listeriosis outbreak in which 22 Canadians died.
Maple Leaf Foods, whose meat
products were linked to the deaths, said that as a result of the outbreak,
the company was committed to "becoming a global leader in food safety
to prevent this kind of a tragedy from ever happening again."
"On behalf of our 24,000
employees, we promise to never forget," said Michael McCain, Maple
Leaf's chief executive officer, in a letter-style advertisement that
appeared in Canadian daily newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, the
Edmonton Journal and the Vancouver Sun.
In 2008, 22 Canadians died
and many more became sick after eating contaminated deli meats that mainly
originated at a Maple Leaf plant located in north Toronto.
Maple Leaf believed the
anniversary of this tragedy should not pass unmarked, the company said.
"We just felt it was
important to do," said Linda Smith, a Maple Leaf spokesperson.
At the time, Maple Leaf
recalled the meat, closed and cleaned the plant where it was packaged and
boosted company-wide sanitary procedures.
In addition, the firm hired a
chief food safety officer, whose job is to boost inspection procedures and
policies within Maple Leaf to ensure there is no repeat of such an
outbreak, Smith said.
In July, a federal report
examining the listeriosis outbreak in 2008 blamed internal Maple Leaf
policies, among other factors, as the reason for the infection problems.
Still, Maple Leaf's meats
have faced some quality-control issues this year.
In August, the company
recalled nine wiener products, including Shopsy's All-Beef Wieners, after
discovering small amounts of listeria monocytogenes, the agent that causes
listeriosis to occur in humans.
Maple Leaf has "zero
tolerance" for listeria contamination, which occurs once in every 200
meat packages, Smith said. So, more testing — twice the level the company
did previously — means that the company will be recalling more meat under
the new quality-control regime, she said.