Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Feds lend $5 million to Maple Leaf Foods


March 24, 2014
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The federal government has announced a $5-million investment in Maple Leaf Foods to purchase and install new meat processing technology that will improve the company’s operating and production efficiencies while enhancing food safety and supporting product innovation.

Maple Leaf Foods will purchase the Armor Inox Thermix System, a fully automated processing line, for its Hamilton plant. The system — the first of its kind in Canada — includes built-in features to facilitate product traceability. In addition to improving food safety, the system is also expected to improve the shape, texture, consistency and shelf-life of deli meat products while reducing sodium content.

Upon completion of the project, Maple Leaf Foods’s Hamilton plant will have the capacity to produce 82 million kilograms of deli products annually.

“Innovation continues to be a priority for our government, and making strategic investments like this in one of Canada’s largest food processors will boost the competiveness of the meat sector and create employment opportunities for years to come,” said Pierre Lemieux, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture.

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The funding is being provided through the AgriInnovation Program, a five-year, up to $698-million initiative under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework. The program’s Enabling Commercialization and Adoption Stream provides repayable funding to agri-businesses and co-operatives to facilitate the commercial demonstration, commercialization and adoption of innovative agri-based products, technologies, processes or services.

“We are building the most advanced prepared meats facility in North America. The AgriInnovation Program has helped us secure world-class technology that will improve our efficiency and support high skilled, knowledge-based jobs in Canada’s food industry,” said Rick Young, executive vice-president of transformation at Maple Leaf Foods.