Maple Leaf Plant Reopens in Toronto
The Maple Leaf plant which was the source of a listeriosis outbreak in Canada that spurred 16 deaths and sparked a massive national recall of deli meat products has reopened after nearly a month since its closure.
"It is with mixed emotion that I speak to you today, certainly with humility for what has happened . . . and also pride with the tenacity of the people to address the problem and move forward," said Michael McCain, president of Maple Leaf Foods, at a news conference in Toronto.
The plant closed Aug. 20, and the 150-year-old company estimated its loss could reach $20-million.
"I am pleased to announce that the plant has met the most rigorous food safety requirements," he said, adding he wanted to ensure all Canadians that dozens of experts who "worked around the clock" have thoroughly sanitized the plant and all 84 slicing machines are now subject to "more stringent controls" to eliminate any bacteria they find.
Food safety measures have been improved within the plant, and Maple Leaf Food products are expected to be back on shelves by next week after they go through an additional round of tests to ensure safety. I think it will take a long time to regain the trust of the average consumer...although if it were me, and I ate meat, now would probably be the best time to buy Maple Leaf products - they will never be cleaner or more thoroughly tested!
Canada's food inspection agency is expected to investigate the listeria outbreak in an effort to improve upon existing food safety standards.