August 26, 2008
Maple Leaf, which has been recalling its meat products from a Toronto facility due to listeria concerns, has been confirmed as the source of tainted meat that has caused a food poisoning outbreak.
Tainted meat produced at a Maple Leaf plant has so far killed 12 Canadians and sickened many others, according to authorities on Saturday (August 23, 2008).
Maple Leaf has recalled all products from the Toronto plant, which has stopped production and is closed for sanitisation. Most of the products were sold to foodservice institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes and restaurants nationwide. The products were not exported.
The Public Health Agency of Canada announced the results of genetic tests that linked the Maple Leaf plant to the outbreak, and said the results indicated the investigation was on the right path but far from complete.
The agency expects the number of cases to continue increasing over the next several weeks as symptoms of listeriosis can occur up to 70 days after the consumption of contaminated food.
Maple Leaf chief executive Michael McCain said his company had an excellent health and safety system but that listeria was particularly difficult to detect and prevent.
Maple Leaf shares fell 4.6 percent to CAN 9.8 (US$9.3) on Friday (August 22, 2008).
Listeriosis is especially deadly for pregnant women, the elderly, infants and people with weak immune systems. Listeria bacteria are common and it is able to thrive and multiply even in a refrigerator, according to health authorities.