CANADA - Maple Leaf Foods is to receive a C$5 million grant to purchase and install new meat processing technology that will improve the company's operating and production efficiencies while enhancing food safety and supporting product innovation.
Maple Leaf Foods will purchase a fully-automated process that significantly improves food safety and includes built-in features to facilitate product traceability.
The system is also expected to improve the shape, texture, consistency and shelf-life of deli meat products while reducing sodium content.
This strategic investment announced by Pierre Lemieux, (pictured) Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture will boost the competitiveness of the meat sector and create opportunities for Canadian pork producers for years to come.
"Ontario's food processing industry is the largest in Canada and top-three in North America," said MP David Sweet.
"We're proud to partner with Maple Leaf Foods in strengthening the food processing industry here in the Hamilton area.
"It's good news for local jobs and economic growth and it's also great news for Ontario's farmers since the industry is the number one purchaser of the food they grow."
Upon completion of the project, Maple Leaf Foods's Hamilton plant will have the capacity to produce 82 million kilograms of deli products annually.
The AgriInnovation Program is a five-year, up to $698 million initiative under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework.
Rick Young, Executive Vice President of Transformation at Maple Leaf Foods said: "We are building the most advanced prepared meats facility in North America.
"The AgriInnovation Program has helped us secure world-class technology that will improve our efficiency and support high skilled, knowledge-based jobs in Canada's food industry."
The Program's Enabling Commercialization and Adoption Stream provides repayable funding to agri-businesses and cooperatives to facilitate the commercial demonstration, commercialization and adoption of innovative agri-based products, technologies, processes or services.
The Government continues to pursue the most aggressive trade agenda in Canadian history, and recently signed the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. This agreement will expand market access opportunities for Canadian exports of beef and pork.
Maple Leaf Foods is Canada's largest processor of value-added meat, meals, and baked goods. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, the company employs approximately 19,500 people in operations throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.
The Armor Inox Thermix System, the first of its kind in Canada, employs a fully-automated process that includes built-in features for product traceability.
TheMeatSite News Desk