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Workers return as Maple Leaf plant reopens

TORONTO - September 19, 2008 - UFCW Canada members at the Maple Leaf Bartor Road facility in Toronto are returning to work nearly a month after the plant was closed because of a listeria outbreak traced to the facility.

Since the closure the plant has undergone intensive disassembly, cleansing and sanitation.

Following the completion of comprehensive testing and pre-operation inspection conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the plant has now resumed production.

"The members are glad to be back at work," says Shawn Haggerty, the President of UFCW Canada Local 175. "More than 100 of them worked around the clock as part of the sanitization effort. They and the rest of the members at Bartor Road are glad the plant has now been given the go-ahead to reopen."

More than 300 UFCW Canada Local 175 members are regularly employed at the facility. They have now begun to return to work, with production to be ramped up gradually. No products will be released until the CFIA and Maple Leaf are fully satisfied that food safety protocols in place at the Bartor Road plant are effective. Test runs of products will also be completed before any new product is distributed from the plant.

"We’re satisfied that Maple Leaf and the CFIA have done the right thing," says Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada, "in their investigation, the sanitization of the plant, and the additional safety protocols they have agreed on to make sure what happened doesn’t happen again."

"Our members and our union are committed to the highest levels of food safety, as is Maple Leaf, and we will continue to work with the company and the CFIA to achieve that, at this plant and other Maple Leaf facilities across Canada where our members work."




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