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Maple Leaf Starts Hot Dog Recall

by 5m Editor
5 August 2009, at 10:09am

CANADA - Maple Leaf Foods is recalling nine wiener products produced under the Hygrade, Shopsy's and Maple Leaf brands at its plant in Hamilton, Ontario, because they may contain traces of Listeria monocytogenes.

The company said that this is a precautionary measure only and added that it is 100 per cent in compliance with the Government of Canada's new Listeria policy.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed that there have been no reported illnesses related to these products. Cooking hotdogs to steaming hot also kills any potential foodborne bacteria, such as Listeria.

"After last August's tragedy, Maple Leaf is being ultra-cautious about Listeria," said Dr. Randall Huffman, Chief Food Safety Officer for Maple Leaf Foods.

"The Hamilton plant has a very strong food safety testing and sanitation program, and the Listeria monocytogenes found in random product samples is at very low levels. Listeria exists in all food plants and many consumer fridges. It is commonly found in the environment and one in 200 packages of all meat and poultry products in the marketplace will likely contain Listeria monocytogenes, even higher in other ready to eat foods.

"We take whatever steps we can to be cautious when we know specific lots that may be exposed, as a precautionary step. Listeria can never be eliminated but it can be effectively controlled. Maple Leaf is doing more aggressive and frequent Listeria testing at our plants than regulations require, and that means we're finding it more and acting whenever there is a potential and even remote food safety risk."

Maple Leaf has built a safety net of hold and test quarantine procedures; however, the effectiveness of product quarantine depends on rapid testing methods which the government have not yet approved.

The product in question was produced during a period when test results were not yet available due to the excessively long lead time of currently government approved testing methods. We urge the Canadian government to approve commercially proven in-plant rapid testing methods which are now widely in use in the United States and Europe and Maple Leaf will immediately implement this technology at all our prepared meat plants to improve the effectiveness of our quarantine procedures.

The "best before" date, the establishment number for the Hamilton plant "EST. 611" and Line 1 "L1" can be found on the inkjet stamp located on the sealed edge of the packaging and the UPC code is located on the back of the package. Note that products featuring an establishment code other than EST 611 or Line other than L1 are NOT affected by this recall. No other Maple Leaf products are affected by this recall.

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.