CANADA: Saputo searches for cause of listeria contamination
Posted: November 30th, 2010 - 3:41pm
Source: Globe and Mail
Canadian cheese giant Saputo Inc. (SAP-T37.52-0.29-0.77%) is continuing to investigate the cause of a Listeria bacteria contamination that prompted the company to voluntarily recall several lots of cheese from an unidentified Quebec plant.
Canada's largest cheese processor said production has been redirected to another facility while it cleans up the problem.
“We continue to investigate to find out the root cause of the problem and to make sure that we can put the necessary measures in place,” Sandy Vassiadis, director of corporate communications, said in an interview on Monday.
The Montreal-based firm announced Friday evening that it has recalled Faith Farms Ribbon Slices process cheese sold in two kilogram packs with a best before date of May 5, 2011.
The contamination involves 11,000 kilograms of processed cheese from five lots that was discovered through routine testing, Ms. Vassiadis said.
The cheese was sold through cash and carry and deli stores, and may also have been sold to food service institutions like restaurants, hospitals, day care centres and nursing homes.
The product was distributed in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
A battery of tests has determined that the contamination was restricted to the five lots of cheese from a single production line, Ms. Vassiadis said.
Industry observers said they expect the costs of the recall on Saputo's reputation will be minimal, provided the incidents are contained to the one line.
The recalled cheese is worth less than $200,000 and there have been no reported illnesses.