Timeline and resources
The Canadian Government and leadership and employees at Maple Leaf have set up many new plans in response to the 2008 listeriosis outbreak. The day after being informed of Listeria cases at the health unit, the CFIA’s OFSR began its investigation which was conducted in the span of a little over two weeks. The OFSR immediately reported its findings to Maple Leaf Foods which allowed the company to take immediate action. All the agencies quickly utilized the “4 R’s” – expressing regret, stating what will be done to resolve the issue, reforming, and offering restitution – in the process of responding to the crisis. This helped maintain or recapture public confidence in the company and the government in handling crises and providing necessary products and services. Maple Leaf and these government agencies quickly dispatched all necessary personnel and resources to manage the problem. This included investigations, closing facilities, recalling products, cleansing and sterilization practices, and training. These actions were taken with a multi-million-dollar cost to ensure public health and lessen or prevent future loss of life due to similar contamination.
The attitude taken by these parties displayed a sense of respect for the magnitude of the crisis, the lives affected by the events, and these groups’ social responsibilities. Within six months of the outbreak, each agency had released its own Lessons Learned report detailing its part in the response efforts, its accountability, and areas where improvement was needed. By January 2009 – five months after the outbreak – Maple Leaf had created the position of Chief Food Safety Officer.