Maple Leaf Foods announced that the company will require all of its protein, ingredient and packaging suppliers to become food safety certified to a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standard in 2017.

"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 H. McCain, President and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods.

The company made the announcement at its 7th Annual Maple Leaf Food Safety Symposium, which was co-hosted by GFSI for the first time. The unique event serves as a knowledge exchange and networking opportunity to share experiences on food safety management. This year's event drew close to 400 delegates from local and global companies.

"We commend Maple Leaf for extending this requirement across its supply chain," said Karil Kochenderfer,GFSI North American Representative. "Given the Company's prominence in the market, we see this as an important move to raise the bar even higher and give consumers greater confidence in the safety of the food they enjoy."

Maple Leaf's manufacturing facilities were certified to a GFSI recognized scheme by 2011 and all of its co-manufacturing partners were required to achieve this by 2012.  In 2016, the Company will begin to expect all new meat and ingredient suppliers to meet this standard, with all existing meat and ingredient suppliers reaching this standard, starting in 2017. 

GFSI is an industry-driven initiative providing thought leadership and guidance on food safety management systems necessary for safety along the supply chain. The organization's goal is to promote a harmonized approach to managing food safety across the food industry world-wide. Its effort is driven by collaboration between the world's leading food safety experts from retail, manufacturing and food service companies, as well as international organizations, governments, academia and service providers to the global food industry.

Food Safety Facts

  • In 2014, Maple Leaf performed more than 180,000 tests across its operations to detect any bacteria or pathogens as part of the Company's food safety program.
  • More than 225,000 farms and food manufacturing facilities are certified to GFSI recognized standards globally.
  • GFSI recognizes 10 food safety management programs world-wide. Maple Leaf follows the British Retail Consortium program across its operations.

Source: Maple Leaf Foods Inc.