Maple Leaf Foods delays tainted meat plant reopening

Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:29am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Maple Leaf Foods Inc MFI.TO said it has delayed the re-opening of a Toronto meat processing plant at the center of a food poisoning outbreak that has been linked to the deaths of 12 people in Canada.

The company said it now plans to open the Toronto facility on August 28, two days later than originally planned.

The delay will allow for the completion of additional disassembly of equipment and further tests, the company said.

So far 12 people have died out of 26 confirmed cases of listeriosis linked to tainted deli-style meats that are produced at the plant. There are another 29 suspected cases.

Maple Leaf has recalled about 220 products made at the plant in one of the biggest food recalls ever in Canada.

The company has said it expects direct costs of about C$20 million ($19 million) related to the recalls.

($1=$1.05 Canadian)

(Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Ted Kerr)