Maple Leaf Foods, Canada, announced a new processing agreement with Sofina Foods, Canada, that will move the company’s fresh turkey processing from its plant in Thamesford, Ontario, to Sofina’s new facility in Mitchell, Ontario, in early 2018. This new processing agreement will result in a more efficient and scaled turkey processing industry in Ontario.

Fresh processing is planned to be phased into the Mitchell facility during the next 18 months, and will result in the closure of Maple Leaf’s Thamesford plant in 2018. The agreement provides Maple Leaf with a cost-effective supply of high-quality fresh turkey for further processing, and supports the company’s commitments to food safety, quality and animal care.

“We will continue to invest in and grow our market position in the Canadian turkey industry, including our relationships with producers, while retaining complete ownership of the high-quality supply required to support growth in our value-added business,” says Michael McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods. “This was a very difficult decision given the impact on our employees and the community, but necessary given the substantial physical limitations at our 80-year-old Thamesford plant.”