LCBO lab results reflect growing Ontario wine industry and growing interest in organic products



    TORONTO, June 10 /CNW/ - LCBO's Quality Assurance (QA) laboratory test
results over the past year point to a good grape harvest, more Ontario
wineries and increased consumer interest in organic products. The number of
tests conducted on Ontario wines increased by 29 per cent, and a record number
of organic products (174) were submitted for testing.
    LCBO tests all products imported and sold in LCBO stores. These tests
ensure that the products meet federal standards and are free from
contaminants. Random testing of products is also conducted throughout the year
to ensure health and quality standards are met.
    "Our customers rightly expect us to sell only safe products of the
highest quality, and in this era of high-profile product recalls, it's more
important than ever that we explain how we are ensuring public safety," said
Dr. George Soleas, Vice President, LCBO Quality Assurance.
    In the 2007-2008 fiscal year, LCBO's QA lab analyzed 22,129 samples of
the products submitted for sale at LCBO stores, and conducted 476,590
individual tests - nearly 4,000 more samples and over 40,000 more tests than
the previous year.
    The most common reasons for rejection last year were labelling
infractions and alcohol content deviation.
    In addition to tests for trace elements and incorrect labelling, LCBO's
QA sensory evaluation panels carried out 5,300 product tastings to ensure they
met high quality standards and were free of common defects, such as cork
taint, vegetal odours and oxidation. Last year the QA lab provided free
sensory evaluation, packaging review services and quality assurance audits on
830 Vintners' Quality Alliance of Ontario samples. LCBO has also been working
with an Ontario Craft Brewers' technical committee to assist in establishing a
craft beer certification program.
    "In addition to ensuring the quality, authenticity and safety of the
products we sell, we're proud of helping the Ontario wine and craft beer
industries," said Dr. Soleas. "Our work in authenticating Icewine has helped
protect the integrity of this unique Ontario product, for example."

    
    Other highlights from the QA lab:
    -   There was one product recall last year, the first since 2003-2004. A
        brand of rum was recalled after the QA lab confirmed the presence of
        glass particles in some bottles.
    -   The lab is world-renowned and meets the high standards set by the
        Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization. It is
        registered under ISO 9001:2000, as well as under ISO/IEC 17025, a
        designation specific to chemical laboratories.
    -   Some of the world's leading beverage alcohol manufacturers, suppliers
        and agents - as well as cork, package and closure producers,
        universities and colleges, and other Canadian liquor jurisdictions -
        contract the services of the QA lab to ensure they meet the highest
        standards.
    

    Note to editors: Interviews can be arranged with Dr. Soleas by contacting
Jacqueline Waldorf. Media can also try their hand at the sensory evaluation
protocol used by the QA lab and tour the facility in downtown Toronto. In
addition, broadcast B-roll of LCBO's lab testing and product recall procedures
are available on request.





For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Jacqueline Waldorf, LCBO Sr.
Communications Consultant, Tel. (416) 864-6875, Fax: (416) 864-6850, E-mail:
jacqueline.waldorf@lcbo.com


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