Maple Leaf Foods has announced that, beginning in 2017, the company will require all of its suppliers--protein, ingredients and packaging--to become food safety certified to a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standard.

According to Maple Leaf president and CEO Michael H. McCain, “We committed to certifying our operations to GFSI-benchmarked standards 5 years ago and extending this commitment across our supply chain is an important and appropriate next step in our food safety leadership,”

The announcement was made at the 7th Annual Maple Leaf Food Safety Symposium, which was co-hosted by GFSI for the first time. The unique event serves as a knowledge exchange and networking opportunity to share experiences on food safety management. This year’s event drew close to 400 delegates from local and global companies.

“We commend Maple Leaf for extending this requirement across its supply chain. Given the company’s prominence in the market, we see this as an important move to raise the bar even higher and give consumers greater confidence in the safety of the food they enjoy.” says Karil Kochenderfer, a GFSI North American representative.

By 2011, Maple Leaf’s manufacturing facilities were certified to a GFSI recognized scheme. All of its co-manufacturing partners were required to achieve this by 2012.  In 2016, the company will begin to expect all new meat and ingredient suppliers to meet this standard, with all existing meat and ingredient suppliers reaching this standard, starting in 2017.