Series of pork products in Maple Leaf recall

29-08-2008 | |

The list of products that was recalled from the Canadian company Maple Leaf Foods this week, contains several pork products, marketed in different brands.

The Canadian food processor recalled all its products made at the Toronto plant, manufactured from January 2008, since a link has been determined between a strain of Listeria bacteria found at one of Maple Leaf’s plants outside of Toronto. The strain caused illness and at least fifteen people to lose their lives, after which the plant itself was temporarily closed down.

The product recall list includes e.g. ham products marketed under the Maple Leaf brand, but also under various other brand names, like Artisan Collection, Best Value, Bittners/Schneiders, Burns, Country Morning, Equality, Harmonie, Mayfair/Marque, Olympic, Overlander, Schneiders, The Butcher’s Cut and Western Family. A full list of recalled products can be found here.

The Canadian food processor took full responsibility for the outbreak, which is thought to have been caused by a shipment of bad ready-to-eat meat products.

Maple Leaf says it has no evidence that the bacteria could have spread beyond two initial lines that were identified as being linked to affected product.

The recall began on August 17 when the company announced it was recalling beef products due to Listeria contamination. The recall was expanded on August 20 to various other processed meat products.

Two days later, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada concluded that the strain of Listeria found in the first two beef products matched the strain involved in two cases of food-borne illness. As a result, Maple Leaf Foods expanded the recall once more, now including all products produced at the plant.

Maple Leaf sent out press releases recently and offered ‘deep and sincere sympathy to those who are ill, or who have lost loved ones, on behalf of the 23,000 people of Maple Leaf Foods who live a culture of food safety’.

It is expected that the number of confirmed and suspected cases will continue to increase over the next several weeks. It is estimated that the recall will cost the approximately CAN$20 million (US$19 million), which primarily will be incurred for the reimbursement for returned products. Financial losses however are thought to turn out larger, since the company has become the target of a class action lawsuit.

Related web sites:
• Maple Leaf Foods
• Canadian Food Inspection Agency 
• Public Health Agency Canada

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