Maple Leaf Cares & My First Giveaway.

Disclaimer: As I am new to this,  I just wanted to state that I was asked by a word of mouth marketing company Matchstick to attend a round-table for Maple Leaf Foods.  Participants were invited to have dinner and discuss Maple Leaf Foods, their Food Safety Pledge, and the events that happened in August 2008. Each participant received giveaways of food and a gas card.  For my participation in this roundtable, I was asked to write a post in my own words, detailing my honest impressions of the event.  I was not paid to write this post and this post contains my true feelings and  thoughts on the Maple Leaf roundtable.

The biggest message that I got from the Maple Leaf roundtable is that they care.  How do I know they care?

Well here are a couple of reasons.

They care because they sent Sharon Beals.  Sharon Beals is Senior Vice-President of Food Safety & Quality Assurance, basically she is THE head honcho folks and she was the one to come and talk with all of us.  Rarely do you find a company who will send a person from upper management, let alone one of the top individuals, to willingly take on the unending barrage of questions from a roomful of inquisitive bloggers.

The first statement that came from Sharon Beals is that they know their error led to the death of 23 individuals and that no matter what happens, they cannot change that fact. They honestly claimed responsibility for what occurred and did not try to minimize it. I know that I was very impressed at how quickly they came out with an apology message commercial and that Mr. Michael McCain himself addressed the public.

Sharon was also willing to tell us where Maple Leaf slipped up and tell us in her own words.

As one of the only individuals at the event that had been inside a meat plant, I had more insight into the cleaning and safety testing that HAS to been done every day.  Unfortunately, this machine was opened but not required by the manufacturer to be opened and accessible for the last important layer where the little particles of meat were found. NOW, Maple Leaf Foods has a machine that gets opened completely and  THOROUGHLY cleaned & swabbed for bacteria regularly.

As an individual who has taken Foodsafe Level 1 and experienced the effects of Salmonella poisioning, I know how easily & how by accident, foodbourne diseases can occur.  I can honestly say that I am sure that Maple Leaf’s food processing plants are more frequently and thoroughly cleaned than my own kitchen. 

I was also impressed with their commitment to ensure that every employee, at every level,  is educated on the latest food safety training, education, and communication techniques.  Every employee has access to report any concerns they have regarding food safety anonymously, ensuring an open level of communication without having to be concerned about judgement. 

The most important step that I think Maple Leaf Foods is taking is to become one of the first in Canada to have their food preparation facilities certified by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).  They want to reach for a higher standard than is necessary and I commend them for being a leader in that area.  Personally, I think that it is important for them to prioritize food safety, in order for them to regain my trust & the public trust in their food products.

Personally, I would like to send my Man there for some food education  as he always rolls his eyes over my concern over foodborne illnesses & contamination.  If you have some concerns about contamination  & cleaning in your own kitchen, check out Maple Leaf’s website.  You can also read more about Maple Leaf at their blog Our Journey to Food Safety Leadership.

I do not think that we will ever forget the tragic loss of the 23 individuals who died of listeriosis in August 2008.  I do hope that we can all learn and move forward knowing that Maple Leaf is pursuing a higher safety standard for all foods in Canada to ensure that such a tragedy from foodborne illnesses will never happen again.

Now onto MY FIRST giveaway! I am VERY excited to be giving away a zippered-up insulated bag full of goodies! In it contains Maple Leafs frozen, stuffed chicken breasts; a package of Nautural Selections deli meats; a white & wholegrain baguette; a snazzy navy & white striped Maple Leaf apron; a handy electric food thermometer; a coupon for $5.00 off your next purchase of Nautural Selections deli meats. ALSO  I am throwing in a CD of the Jazz trio I saw in Montreal & a $10.00 ESSO gift card!!!! This way you can have dinner and  music together and go for a drive to get some wine! Heh.  Don’t worry I will freeze all the non-perishables.

If you want to WIN all you need to do is comment on my post and tell me how you feel about Maple Leaf Foods today. I will randomly select the winner on Wednesday.

If you have any questions in regards to this post, please comment or email me and I will be more than willing to contact Sharon and get the answers for you.

Comments

  1. Hi Naomi! It was wonderful to meet you too!! Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you, I just got home from my trip! I love what you wrote about the event, and oh my goodness congratulations on almost 1 year of blog posts…so soon!! 🙂 I think you’re beautiful, and should you ever need any pictures from the event please feel free to go ahead and take them from my site. I’m not on twitter but will let you know if I go on for sure! I’m excited to keep in touch. Have a great week, and great post!

    • Naomi Jesson says:

      Thanks! After reading yours I realized that I had forgot to add my giveaway to my post. I had already written it and then my internet connection crashed & I lost pretty much all of it. I had to re-write it so I was frazzled. Boo Hoo! It was my first post on this sort of thing so I am glad that you thought it was good. We will definitely keep in touch!

  2. Susan Margaret says:

    I’m really glad I found your blog! I’m Canadian as well (though I’m from further East!) and I find it a real challenge to find great Canadian bloggers to follow – so I plan to add your blog to my list!

    I love Maple Leaf foods – I have always been a huge fan of their products (Maple Leaf Prime is one of the best poultry products I have ever tasted!). I’m glad they have taken what happened and are using it to take steps to ensure it never happens again!

    Thanks for sharing!
    charmtime at gmail dot com

    • Naomi Jesson says:

      Thanks Susan, that is very sweet of you to say.

      Yes, we have always eaten Maple Leaf foods in our family as well. I was very impressed how quickly they acted & that they are continuing to increase the industry’s food safety standards. Thanks for commenting and you are now the first entered into the giveaway!

  3. Marilyn says:

    I found the website very informative. Maple Leaf was a brand I grew up with..for meats, bacon, etc. My mom trusted the brand and so do I. I can’t believe you find the time to do all these things Naomi..you should call yourself Super mONKEE MOMMA!

  4. I’m at a loss for something to say – that doesn’t happen very often ;p
    I like knowing that they’ve taken further steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

  5. I have always liked Maple Leaf products but when the listeria outbreak occured, I did stop buying them for quite some time. When I saw that the company was taking it seriously and improving their standards and practices, I slowly welcomed the brand back into our house and now I feel confident eating their products. I believe Maple Leaf has learned from their mistakes.

    • Naomi Jesson says:

      Yes, edmontonjb I also stopped buying the products too when the outbreak happened. I applaud their quick action & their focus on becoming #1 in the industry when it comes to food safety. After learning what happened, they could have easily blamed the manufacturer of the machine but they took responsibility and that is what really impresses me the most.

  6. Kirstin says:

    Being fairly new to Canada I didn’t know much about the Maple Leaf brand other than their chicken is very very good however I have to say I was so impressed that after terrible events that Michael McCain made the very prompt apology and took responsibility. I thought his speech was very genuine and heartfelt and it was in no way a “schmooze” for the buying public. I dont think I have ever seen a company stand up and take real responsibilty for events like that- just look at Toyota- how long did it take for them to come out with an apology- after how many cover ups?!

    • Naomi Jesson says:

      I too felt the apology was very genuine & now knowing they could have put the blame on someone else, makes me respect them more. I know I was thinking the same thing about Toyota Kirstin! The delayed response really makes you feel very sketchy about Toyota. Thanks for commenting, your number 5 for the giveaway.

  7. I like Maple Leaf products. I felt that there quick response to the public kept me feeling positive about the company. I did stop buying their product for a time but have reverted back. I figure that they’re extra, extra, extra dilligant now 🙂

    • Naomi Jesson says:

      Technically, Maple Leaf did everything that was possible. It was impossible to see that the seal was broken, when it was inside the machine. They are more then extra careful, they are planning on leading the industry in food safety. You’re number 6 Sarah.

  8. I was impressed with Maple Leaf’s quick response to the whole situation. They seemed to be genuinely concerned about correcting the issue and making sure that the public knew that they were handling the situation. I won’t stop eating Maple Leaf products as I’m sure they will do everything in their power for this to never happen again.

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