Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX: MFI) is continuing its rigorous safety efforts at its Brandon, Manitoba, plant to prevent workplace transmission amidst the recent COVID-19 cluster occurring in the community. The plant continues to operate safely, and Public Health experts have said on numerous occasions that there is no evidence of workplace transmission occurring at the plant.
The Company is extending its efforts to reduce spread of COVID-19 within the community by reinforcing the importance of precautions such as social distancing and by making 500,000 free masks available to community members.
Operationally, Maple Leaf Foods has temporarily suspended pork exports to China on a voluntary basis due to recent protocols adopted by the Chinese government for Canadian processors. The protocol requires any plant reporting a COVID-19 positive case suspend exports to China temporarily.
The Company also has been impacted by short-term increases in absenteeism. Maple Leaf Foods believes this is a short-term situation and not a material financial event, given the diversity of the Company’s markets. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have been unequivocal about the fact that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through food products.
“We are confident in our Maple Leaf Safety Promise – providing consumers with safe, great tasting food made in a safe working environment – but, we respect China’s new import protocols for Canadian products and are working cooperatively with Canadian and Chinese authorities to resume exports quickly,” said Michael McCain, President and CEO.
Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements based on Maple Leaf Foods’ current expectations and assumptions relating to its business, including the impact of COVID-19, the impact of the suspension of pork exports to China, the conditions and timing for the resumption of pork exports to China, and operations and absenteeism at the Brandon plant. As these forward-looking statements depend upon future events, actual outcomes may differ materially depending on factors such as: government policies and protocols in China and Canada; developments related to COVID-19; plant operations; employee absenteeism; supply chain logistics; international trade dynamics; and other developments in the business, operational, legal and regulatory environments. There can be no assurance that the results or developments anticipated by Maple Leaf Foods will be realized or that they will have the expected outcomes.
All forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. Readers are cautioned that they should not unduly rely on these forward-looking statements and that the information contained in the forward-looking statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. Further, readers are cautioned that the forward-looking statements in this news release speak only as of the date hereof. Maple Leaf Foods does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements except as required by securities law.
About Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Maple Leaf Foods is a producer of food products under leading brands including Maple Leaf®, Maple Leaf Prime®, Maple Leaf Natural Selections®, Schneiders®, Schneiders® Country Naturals®, Mina®, Greenfield Natural Meat Co. ®, Lightlife®, Field Roast Grain Meat Co.™ and Swift®. Maple Leaf employs approximately 13,000 people and does business in Canada, the U.S. and Asia. The Company is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario and its shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MFI).