Maple Leaf Initiates Voluntary Recall of 1,100 Cases of Shopsy's All Beef Frankfurters and Maple Leaf Hot Dogs Original in Ontario

    TSX: MFI

    TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - Maple Leaf Foods today announced that it is
proceeding with a voluntary recall of approximately 1,100 cases of wieners
produced at its plant in Hamilton, Ontario because the products were shipped
in violation of the company's rigorous food safety protocols. The affected
products are:

    -  Shopsy's Deli Fresh All Beef Frankfurters, (Product Code 20730 and UPC
       6487520730) with a Best Before date of AL22 and AL23 (April 22 and 23)
    -  Maple Leaf Hot Dogs Original, (Product Code 22356 and UPC 6310022356)
       with a Best Before date of AL23

    Both products are sold in 450 gram packages and were distributed to
customers in Eastern Canada. No other products are affected by this recall.
    There has been no illness reported as a result of consumption of these
products and the risk to human health is extremely low. Consumers who may have
these products in their refrigerators are advised not to consume them.
    Under Maple Leaf's stringent food safety protocols, the Company tests for
listeria species, not Listeria monocytogenes. Six species of Listeria exist,
but only one, Listeria monocytogenes, has any potential to impact human
health. This is an extremely conservative approach as it treats any positive
listeria test result with the highest level of corrective actions. Due to
human error, a small quantity of wieners produced at the Hamilton plant that
were quarantined under these routine enhanced procedures was inadvertently
shipped to distribution centres and customers in Eastern Canada. All customers
have been notified and product is immediately being removed from inventory or
store shelves and returned to the Company. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency
is overseeing the completion of the recall.
    "Unlike other situations, this event occurred as a direct result of human
error and did not uphold our stringent industry leading protocols." said
Michael McCain, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. "Notwithstanding the
exceptionally low risk this represents, Maple Leaf is committed to maintaining
the most stringent standards and we intend to live by those standards so
consumers can have absolute confidence in the integrity of our products. We
are taking immediate action and will not condone anything other than strict
adherence to our protocols."
    "As we have seen with the wide range of food products which have been
recalled to date in 2009, as enhanced surveillance becomes more pervasive in
the food industry, positive listeria findings and related recalls will occur
more frequently. This should be regarded positively as it provides assurance
that the industry and government are acting swiftly to protect public health",
said Mr. McCain.

    Maple Leaf has implemented the most stringent food safety system in
Canada. This includes comprehensive daily testing across its packaged meat
plants to detect the presence of listeria species in the processing
environment and on equipment, so that it can be eradicated through
sanitization. The Company has conducted over 75,000 test samples since it
implemented its enhanced environmental monitoring program last fall, with a
positive incident rate of less than 1%, well below the U.S. industry average.
At the Hamilton plant, nearly 2,100 environmental swabs as part of our regular
program tests have been conducted in the past five months, with positive
result rate of about 1%.
    Consumers who have purchased these products are asked to contact our
Consumer Response Line at 1-800-568-5801 to arrange to have the products
replaced, or return them to the store where they were purchased for a full
refund or product replacement.

For further information:

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