Mis­la­belling re­sults in $15K fine for Nor­wich Pack­ers

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - NEWS - CHRIS FUNSTON

A Nor­wich meat plant pleaded guilty and was fined by the On­tario Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs af­ter mislead­ing la­belling of their prod­ucts. Nor­wich Pack­ers owner Ron He­le­niak said the is­sue had noth­ing to do with the qual­ity of their prod­ucts, as the fine re­lated to a lan­guage is­sue re­gard­ing la­belling, that was fixed on the spot. “There were as­sur­ances made and a pro­to­col put in place so it wouldn’t hap­pen again,” said He­le­niak. “It was not a qual­ity is­sue. It was sim­ply a lan­guage is­sue re­gard­ing la­belling.” Nor­wich Pack­ers, also known as Nor­pac Beef, pleaded guilty to false or mislead­ing la­belling of meat on Nov. 1, 2018, af­ter OMAFRA’s reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance unit con­ducted a grade la­belling in­spec­tion on March 20, 2018.

Nor­wich Pack­ers were ul­ti­mately fined $15,000 plus a vic­tim sur­charge of $3,750 fol­low­ing the in­spec­tion.

He­le­niak said the prob­lem arose in a freezer con­tain­ing thou­sands of boxes of meat, as the mis­la­belling was dis­cov­ered on about 60 boxes.

“It wasn’t a very large amount of boxes. It was cor­rected while they were here, but they still had to pro­ceed with some­thing be­cause it wasn’t com­pli­ant,” said He­le­niak.

A re­lease from OMAFRA said On­tario’s Food Safety and Qual­ity Act, 2001, “con­tain high stan­dards for the pro­tec­tion of con­sumers and the wel­fare of food an­i­mals.” It added Nor­wich Pack­ers vi­o­lated the sec­tion that said a com­pany can’t mis­lead con­sumers with de­cep­tive or un­true in­for­ma­tion.

“On­tario has food safety laws and pro­grams that are part of a broader sys­tem that helps to in­form con­sumers and pro­tect the health of the pub­lic,” said Bianca Jamieson, a spokesper­son for the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs. “The Food Safety and Qual­ity Act out­lines the re­quired ac­tiv­i­ties for provin­cially li­censed meat plants to pro­duce and process meat prod­ucts. Part of these re­quire­ments in­cludes mak­ing it il­le­gal for meat plants to use la­belling on meat prod­ucts that may be false or mislead­ing.”

A fine of up to $100,000 for a first of­fence and up to $200,000 for a sec­ond and sub­se­quent of­fences are the max­i­mum. Nor­wich Pack­ers Ltd. has been in Nor­wich since 1954.

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