Canadian food giant Maple Leaf Foods has thrown its weight behind a parliamentary sub-committee report that aims to strengthen the Canadian food safety system.

Last year, Maple Leaf found itself at the centre of a nationwide listeria outbreak, which was linked to the deaths of 22 people.

The company has offered its support to the parliamentary proposals, which build upon a new listeria policy introduced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

“The committee has produced a comprehensive report that has important implications for advancing the strength of the Canadian food system,” said president and CEO Michael McCain.

“These recommendations build on the tough new listeria policy implemented by the CFIA in April. The sub-committee report provides clear direction for further improvements, and we will be full participants in that process.”

Key recommendations included the establishment of a national food safety standard for all food products on sale in Canada – whether they are produced in federally or provincially inspected facilities or imported from overseas.

“The patchwork of existing regulatory regimes cannot continue,” Maple Leaf insisted.

The company also supported calls for a “comprehensive review of CFIA resources.

“As a result of our responsibility for the listeria tragedy we had to improve, we did, and we will continuously,” continued McCain.

“We have implemented food safety protocols based on global best practices in extensive testing, training and technology. Maple Leaf will continue to take an advocacy role in the pursuit of improved practices across the industry, freely sharing our lessons learned and new approaches to food safety that contribute to a world class system for Canadians.”