OTTAWA – An article posted two days ago by the Canadian Press indicated that poor hygiene and sanitation practices at a Maple Leaf Foods plant were still evident during inspections following the facility’s re-opening after a deadly listeriosis outbreak forced it to shut down last fall.
The inspection report, obtained by the Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, revealed Canadian Food Inspection Agency staff found meat debris, mouldy caulking, slime, food debris, rusty equipment and unidentified debris at the Toronto plant just weeks after it underwent a top-to-bottom cleaning in September 2008. The issues persisted from October through December 2008, with employees practising poor sanitation procedures in front of inspectors.
Dr. Randy Huffman, Maple Leaf’s top food-safety officer, said in the article that these discoveries were “not acceptable.” He also explained that the 200 new standard operating procedures were put in place after the outbreak but were hard for the company to adapt to right away.
The severity of the Maple Leaf listeriosis outbreak, which left 22 people dead and many more ill, made waves in the Canadian foodservice industry and spurred the federal government to crack down on its food-safety protocols.