Maple Leaf, C.P.H.A. form food-safety partnership

by Bryan Salvage
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TORONTO – Maple Leaf Foods has launched a new partnership with the Canadian Public Health Association (C.P.H.A.) to develop a national education campaign on food safety targeted at higher risk groups, their caregivers and Canadians.

"Canada has one of the best food-safety systems in the world, with government and the food industry having primary responsibility to protect consumers,” said Dr. Randall Huffman, chief food safety officer, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. “Education and outreach can make a great system even better, by helping people to understand the basics of food safety and the important role they play. Partnering with C.P.H.A. allows us to reach vulnerable groups and provide them with the information they need to handle, store and prepare foods safely for themselves and their families."

Both organizations are working together to develop and implement a national education, primarily Web-based campaign, targeted at higher-risk Canadians.

"We are excited about collaborating with Maple Leaf Foods and bringing our expertise in the area of public health education to this important project," said Debra Lynkowski, C.P.H.A. chief executive officer. "We will work closely with our extensive membership of public-health practitioners who provide services to higher-risk populations to get the message out about food safety."

"Food-safety education represents an important part of our commitment to becoming a global food safety leader," Huffman continued. "This means assisting both higher-risk Canadians and the general population obtain information so that they can make good decisions when handling and preparing food."

In August 2008, Listeria was discovered in products produced by Maple Leaf which resulted in a Listeriosis outbreak that claimed the lives of 23 Canadians. Since then, Maple Leaf has made significant improvements in all areas of food safety, including investing more than $20 million to improve its food-safety program. To learn more, visit www.mapleleafpledge.com.

The Canadian Public Health Association (C.P.H.A.) is a national, independent, not-for-profit, voluntary association representing public health in Canada with links to the international public health community. CPHA's members believe in universal and equitable access to the basic conditions which are necessary to achieve health for all Canadians. For more information about CPHA, visit www.cpha.ca.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading Canadian food processing company. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2009 and employs approximately 23,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Asia.

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