During the week of February 23, 2009, Maple Leaf Foods once again faced public scrutiny as the company issued a recall of wieners that were shipped before the completion of tests for the listeria bacteria. The affected products were inadvertently shipped to Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, and Maple Leaf issued an immediate voluntary recall upon discovering the error.
After a first round of testing on the wieners revealed a partially positive test result for a species of the listeria bacteria, approximately 1,100 cases (more than 26,000 packages) of wieners had been quarantined to undergo a second round of testing at a Hamilton, Ontario plant; unfortunately, due to human error the hot dogs were shipped out before the second round of testing occurred. Maple Leaf tests for all six types of listeria, although only the Listeria monocytogenes species (which caused last summer’s listeria outbreak) is harmful to humans. At the time of the recall, it was unclear which species of the listeria bacteria had been detected in the testing process.
Maple Leaf Foods took full responsibility for the incident and voluntarily issued the recall, which is being overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The recalled hot dogs had been on store shelves for approximately a week at the time of the recall, but Maple Leaf Foods assured the public that all the packs of wieners would be removed from store shelves immediately – and by February 25, the company had issued a statement to confirm the successful removal of all the recalled products. No illnesses have been reported from consuming the wieners and the company has assured the public that “the risk to human health is extremely low.”
Consumers who purchased 450 gram packs of Shopsy’s Deli Fresh All Beef Frankfurters (Product Code 20730 and UPC 6487520730, best before dates of April 22 or 23) and 450 gram packs of Maple Leaf Hot Dogs (Product Code 22356 and UPC 6310022356, best before date of April 23) are advised not to consume the products. Instead, consumers should call the Maple Leaf Consumer Response Line at 1-800-568-5801 for more information on returning or replacing these products.
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