Maple Leaf Foods in Canada, responsible for 20 deaths from listeria that rode out of its Toronto plant on ready-to-eat meats, is not really out of the woods yet. Its turned to a new listeria-fighting additive–sodium diacetate–as a preservative at its plant.
Health Canada approved on Sept. 20 the use of sodium diacetate as a preservative for meat, poultry and fish. Maple Leaf blamed its meat-slicing equipment for the accumulation of listeria that contaminated its products.
Meanwhile, the Windsor Star reports that Maple Leaf’s Chief Executive Michael McCain has gone on the offense about the regulatory oversight the company is encountering. According to the Star, McCain..
says there are hundreds of provincial meat plants across the country operating under "significantly" lower standards than those applied to his company, and it’s time to create national rules for the sake of Canadian consumers.
"Right now, we have two-tier system. It is clear to me and, I think, most scientists would agree with this, that the provincial standards are not at the same level as the federal standards," chief executive officer Michael McCain said in an interview Friday.
"We’ve moved beyond that. Canadians have moved beyond that. And we should establish one standard for Canadian food safety. Consumers deserve that. If that means the elimination of provincial standards, then that’s what we would support."
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Maple Leaf resumed operations at its Toronto plant on Sept. 17th, but has not yet been able to ship all products from the facility.