MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Maple Leaf Foods will require all of its protein, ingredient and packaging suppliers to become food safety certified to a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standard by 2017.

In 2016, all new meat and ingredient suppliers must meet Maple Leaf’s new food-safety standard, while existing suppliers are expected to meet the standard starting in 2017. The company announced its new requirements during the company’s annual Maple Leaf Food Safety Symposium which was co-hosted by GFSI. 

Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods

“We committed to certifying our operations to GFSI-benchmarked standards five years ago and extending this commitment across our supply chain is an important and appropriate next step in our food safety leadership,” said Michael McCain, president and CEO.

Maple Leaf’s manufacturing facilities were certified to a GFSI recognized standard by 2011 and all of the company’s co-manufacturing partners were required to achieve the standard by 2012.

Maple Leaf Foods has been a vocal advocate for food-safety best practices and systems. In 2014, the company performed more than 180,000 tests across its operations to detect any bacteria or pathogens as part of its food safety program. The company improved its food-safety protocols after packaged meats produced at a Maple Leaf Foods plant were linked to an outbreak of listeriosis in 2008 that resulted in 22 deaths. The outbreak was the worst foodborne illness incident in Canada’s history.