by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Quality Meat Packers Limited will receive a $3 million loan from Agriculture and AgriFood Canada’s slaughter improvement program to upgrade its Toronto processing facilities.
“We will enhance food safety and traceability, improve plant efficiency and reduce operating costs through the purchase of value-added equipment,” says an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada release quoting David Schwartz, Quality’s president.
A spokesperson from the company could not be reached for further comment.
“Our Government is creating the conditions for growth in the hog sector which will help hog producers and processors compete on the national and international scene,” said Minister Gerry Ritz. “Our plan is clear: this Government is making strategic investments to strengthen the competitiveness of Canada’s livestock sector and opportunities for producers.”
Issuing its first calls for applications in 2009, the three-year $50 million federal slaughter improvement program provides slaughter facilities with loans of up to 50 per cent of the project’s costs. The interest-free loans must be paid back within 10 years. According to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website,monies for this project were allocated during the 2010 budget year and work was to be finished by March 31, 2012.
Ken McEwan, a University of Guelph professor specializing in agricultural economics, estimates the company slaughters about 20,000 hogs a week at its Toronto facility and about 7,500 at its plant in Mitchell.
The other federally licenced hog slaughter plants in Ontario are Fearmans Pork Inc. in Burlington and Conestoga Meat Packers in Breslau near Waterloo. On Tuesday, Sofina Foods Inc. announced that it had acquired Fearmans from Sun Capital Partners Inc. for an undisclosed amount. BF