Canadian company shoulders blame for food poisoning outbreak

The Canadian meat company linked to the deaths of 15 people in Canada from listeriosis food poisoning says it will take full responsibility for the outbreak.

The listeria-tainted meat has been linked by investigators to six of the deaths while the other nine deaths, all of them connected to the outbreak, remain under investigation.

Two samples of Maple Leaf deli meats have tested positive for the same strain of listeria bacteria that has made dozens of Canadians sick, including the 15 who have died and the company's chief executive says the blame cannot be attributed to food regulators or regulations as there are excellent systems and processes in place.

Michael McCain, the embattled company's president, says it is Maple Leaf's responsibility.

Maple Leaf is facing a number of legal suits as a result of the outbreak and has recalled all products made at the plant as a precaution and withdrawn as many as 220 products from nursing homes, hospitals, restaurants and stores in one of Canada's biggest-ever food recalls.

At this stage it is unclear when the Toronto meat plant where the deli meats were made will reopen as independent experts are still examining the plant in their search for the cause of the contamination which experts say may never be found.

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