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Canada Packers

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Title: Canada Packers  
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Subject: Winnipeg, Richard Thomas (politician), Donald Mann, Roy Dupuis, Keele Street, Coal Harbour, British Columbia, History of Winnipeg, Lewis Rose
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Canada Packers

Maple Leaf Foods, Inc.
Traded as MFI
Industry Foods
Founded Toronto, Ontario (1927)
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Key people Michael McCain, Chief Executive Officer
Employees 24,000 (2008)[1]

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (meat packers.


The company was originally known as Canada Packers. It was founded in 1927 as a merger of several major Toronto meat packers, most prominently William Davies Company and was immediately Canada's largest food processor, a title it would hold for the next sixty years. Its main business was pork, and its massive operations processing hogs for export to the United Kingdom helped Toronto earn its nickname "Hogtown." Moving into western Canada it became Canada's largest beef slaughterer. It also moved into other markets, producing well-known brands such as Squirrel peanut butter and Black Diamond cheese, and also developed a large bread division, best known for the Dempster's brand (Canada's best selling brand of bread), and San Francisco-based Grace Baking products. In 1944, it also entered the tanning industry with the acquisition of Beardmore & Co.[2]

In 1975, it was listed as the 14th largest business in Canada.[3]

During the 1980s, the company began to suffer. It was purchased by the British Hillsdown Holdings which sold or closed most of its slaughterhouses and closed its tannery, and merged the firm with Maple Leaf Mills, renaming it Maple Leaf Foods. These efforts, led by David Newton as CEO and Lewis Rose as CFO, were successful and the company returned to profitability.

After being successfully revived, the company was purchased by Wallace McCain, formerly co-CEO of McCain Foods, who had been ousted by his brother and co-owner Harrison McCain, in 1995 along with the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. In 2003, the company purchased rival Schneider Foods. The company is also one of Canada's largest agribusinesses, owning poultry and hog farms across the country. The main slaughterhouse is located in Brandon, Manitoba.

Mitchell's Gourmet Foods

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the headquarters of Mitchell's Gourmet Foods, formerly known as Intercontinental Packers, which produces the "Olympic Fine Meats" line of products and is one of Canada's largest meat processors, employing more than 1,400 Saskatonians.

Originally established in Saskatoon in 1940 by Fred Mendel as Intercontinental Packers, the business concentrated on canned meat products sold into the US and bacon for Britain during the war years. In 1998, the family run business changed its name to Mitchell's Gourmet Foods.

In 1999, an alliance was formed with Schneider Corporation, and eventually the business was sold to Schneider on November 12, 2002. On September 25, 2003, Schneider was acquired by Maple Leaf Foods. Mitchell continues as an independent operating company of Schneider Foods. However, on October 12, 2006, Maple Leaf Foods, owners of Mitchell's, announced it would be closing down its major plant in Saskatoon over the next three years.[4]

On March 1, 2007, Maple Leaf Foods announced that it would cease operations of the cut/kill departments at their Saskatoon slaughter house. The last day of operation was June 1, 2009

Canadian Food Inspection Agency recall

Main article: 2008 Canadian listeriosis outbreak

In August 2008, shortly after a plant closure, Maple Leaf Foods announced a recall for several products which was later broadened to cover products from Maple Leaf, Schneiders, McDonald's, and other products. According to the National Post, the recall took place on 24 August 2008 and included all cured meats manufactured from a contaminated Toronto plant.[5] By August 25, the outbreak had claimed as many as five lives and sickened dozens.[5] Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a public warning not to consume several Maple Leaf products because of the possibility that they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.[6]

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada concluded that a strain of Listeria bacteria, one that matched the Listeria strain identified in some Maple Leaf food products, was linked to the illness and death of several consumers. On August 23, company CEO Michael McCain responded to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada's conclusion and said, "Tragically, our products have been linked to illness and loss of life. To those people who are ill, and to the families who have lost loved ones, I offer my deepest and sincerest sympathies".[7]

That same day, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that 21 cases of the listeriosis outbreak had been confirmed in four provinces. Three deaths in Ontario were officially tied to the deadly strain of the food-borne listeria bacterium, and a fourth death on Vancouver Island was also attributed to the strain. The public health agency also said a further 30 suspected cases remain under investigation.[8]

On August 27, 2008, The Globe and Mail reported a leaked Conservative cabinet document which outlined plans for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to give the food industry a greater role in the inspection process. However, some of the plans have been in place since March 31, 2008 according to a CFIA manager and an official from the union that represents the federal inspectors.[9]

At the Maple Leaf plant behind the Listeria outbreak, a single federal inspector was relegated to auditing company paperwork and had to deal with several other plants, the manager and the union official said, contradicting the impression that officials had left last week that full-time watchdogs were on-site. Under the new system, federal inspectors do random product tests only three or four times a year at any given plant, and meat packers are required to test each type of product only once a month. Under the old system, inspectors had a more hands-on role on the plant floor, did more of the tests themselves and had more freedom to investigate, said former CFIA inspector.[9]

Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejected any suggestions that the federal government is not doing enough. The Conservative government's changes are the subject of heated controversy as academics and the opposition express concerns over the few details that have emerged so far. The 2008 budget indicated the CFIA was asked to find savings to pay for new programs. The leaked document indicated savings would be found by transferring some meat-inspection duties to industry.[9]

Since 2008, there have been:

  • 38 confirmed cases of listeriosis across Canada (22 in Ontario, 4 in B.C., 2 in Quebec and 1 in Saskatchewan).
  • 30 suspected cases (16 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec and 4 in Alberta)
  • 9 confirmed deaths caused by the outbreak (all in Ontario) [10]
  • 11 suspected deaths (6 in Ontario, 2 in Alberta, 1 in B.C., 1 in Saskatchewan and 1 in Quebec)[9]

2009 precautionary recall

On August 4, 2009, roughly one year after the 2008 recall of Maple Leaf Foods products due to listeriosis contamination, another recall was ordered on 9 wiener products.[11] Brands affected were Hygrade, Shopsy's and Maple Leaf at its plant in Hamilton, Ontario, due to the possibility that they may have contained traces of Listeria monocytogenes.

No cases of listeriosis related to this recall were confirmed.

United Kingdom

In 1996, Maple Leaf Bakery UK was established in Rotherham as a speciality bakery subsidiary of Canada Bread which in turn is 89.8% owned by Maple Leaf Foods. It operates from a total of six sites in the UK and employs around 1,200 employees. It owns the New York Bagel brand and presently makes over 90% of the 200 million bagels supplied to the UK retail and wholesale market.

In recent years, Maple Leaf has diversified from its traditional bagel market into new areas of speciality bakery business. In 2006, it acquired The French Croissant Company, Avance and the Harvestime Bakery. These three purchases were followed by the purchase of premium breads supplier La Fornaia in August 2007 and, three months later in November, Bernard Matthews bakery in Dunstable.[12]

The company's key products now include bagels, ciabatta, croissants, artisan breads, baguettes, soft pretzels, bialys and tear'n'share breads.

In December 2008, after trying to take over North London based rival The Bagel Group, allegations were made by the owner of The Bagel Group via the tabloid Sunday Mirror newspaper to the Office of Fair Trading of price fixing, after Managing Director Peter Maycock was filmed in a Chinese restaurant.[13]

See also

  • TREMERE: Arnold Tremere, M.Sc., Ph.D., Nutritionist and Director of Nutrition and Research Maple Leaf Mills Agriculture division, Toronto; General Manager of Maple Leaf Mills, Western Region, Calgary.[14]


External links

  • Maple Leaf Foods (Official Company site)
  • Articles on about Maple Leaf Foods
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