Enhanced Food Safety Protocols
Maple Leaf is committed to being a leader in food safety. We have put in place leading food safety protocols across our fresh and prepared meats facilities that are amongst the highest in the industry and go well beyond regulatory requirements.
New sanitation protocols are in place to ensure we effectively reduce the potential for bacterial harbourage points in building and equipment. This involves:
- Daily sanitization designed to seek, find and destroy bacteria as we look for repeat patterns. This is the most aggressive program, to our knowledge, in North America.
- Physical changes to the traffic patterns in the plant to minimize cross contamination risk for people, equipment and material.
- Daily and weekly disassembly and sanitization of slicing equipment, and the reconstruction of some equipment based on identification of potential baterial harbourage points.
- With the advice of external experts, we have made additional physical improvements to our facilities all to minimize potential sites where bacteria may collect. This includes improvements to walls, floors and ceilings, drain management and air flow and management of condensation, including procedures for wiping down equipment and steps to minimize creation of condensation.
- Changes to requirements upon entry into a plant including shrouds, masks, aprons and sleeves worn by all employees, new coat policy, and enhanced sanitation requirements.
We have strengthened our approach to environment, equipment and product sampling, testing and data analysis to find any potential contamination sooner.
- We have consulted industry leaders and microbiologists to adopt best practices in the early detection of Listeria.
- We have doubled the number of testing sites and frequency of sampling on every line across our 24 Ready to Eat food plants. This includes daily and weekly environmental monitoring that follows best practice in North America.
- Sampling results are reviewed individually and collectively to assess potential patterns that could reflect a potential bacterial contamination, so that we can further target deep sanitization.
- Maple Leaf currently has two government accredited labs with 11 qualified technicians and is in the process of having a third lab accredited. Along with the support of our third party supplier, we have a network in place to deliver highly reliable laboratory analysis of our significantly expanded testing program.
We have documented new protocols into new Standard Operating Procedures, obtained CFIA approval, and rolled them out across Maple Leaf Consumer Foods, involving training of our people.
- We have implemented over 200 plant SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and improvements to GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices) and other plant procedures. In addition, we are investing thousands of hours to train our people on our new SOPs, GMPs, with ongoing training to follow.
- We are adopting learnings from the recent recall to ensure we deliver a comprehensive and rapid response in any future product recalls.
Maple Leaf has appointed Dr. Randall Huffman to the position of Chief Food Safety Officer, the first such position in Canada. Dr Huffman assumed this position effective January 5, 2009, reporting to Michael H. McCain, President and CEO.
- As Chief Food Safety Officer, Dr. Huffman has overall responsibility for leading Maple Leaf’s food safety and quality programs across the Company.
- This will involve identifying and assessing global best operating practices, technologies, ingredients and resources that support Maple Leaf’s leadership in food safety and quality assurance.
- He will also support the establishment of a Food Safety Advisory Council, a team of experts who will increase the Company’s access to global knowledge and expertise in areas of food safety, microbiology and public education.
In addition to these enhancements, Maple Leaf will build off its existing food safety initiatives to ensure consumers can have confidence in our products.
- All Maple Leaf Foods meat processing facilities are federally registered, operating under the highest standard for food safety in Canada and maintain export eligibility.
- An independent program run by a third party company reviews the proficiency of microbiology testing results three times a year.
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspectors monitor food processing at all Maple Leaf meat processing facilities.
- Annual third party audits of the facilities by independent world-class food safety experts measure compliance and continuous improvement.
- Biosecure handwashing and sanitization stations with automatic soap and sanitizer dispensers as well as comprehensive boot scrubbing system before entering ‘ready-to-eat’ plant areas are in place in many facilities and are being rolled out across the entire network. Turnstile entry restricts access to employees to plant floor until the cleaning is completed.
- Traceability exercises are performed quarterly to test our ability to trace product shipments through the supply chain – from the plant to warehouses, to customer distribution centres and ultimately the marketplace – to ensure we can quickly respond in the event of any food safety issues.