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Ex-Maple Leaf worker charged in tampering case

An ex-employee of Maple Leaf Consumer Foods has been arrested and charged after some Schneider’s products were found to be tampered with at a Guelph, Ont. grocery store.

Guelph Police began an investigation March 18 after several packages of Schneiders Smart Lunch and Schneiders Lunch Mates at one No Frills Store in the city were found to have “sewing needles of various lengths” inserted in them.

Schneiders brand products, all made by Maple Leaf, were pulled from that store’s shelves. The public was alerted by the Guelph Police, store owner Loblaw, Maple Leaf officials and, on March 19, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Aside from the original complaint, none of the items tampered with were sold to the public, police said, and in all, 12 packaged products containing 13 needles had been tampered with. No one was physically injured as a result, police added.

Guelph Police’s investigation led them to arrest a 41-year-old Guelph woman, Mastoora Qezil, on Thursday. Qezil was scheduled to appear in court in Guelph on Friday, and has been charged with one count of common nuisance.

Maple Leaf confirmed Friday that Qezil had previously worked at the company’s plant in Guelph for seven years.

Apart from expressing gratitude for co-operation of the police, Loblaw and staff of the No Frills Store where the tampering was discovered, Maple Leaf said Friday it would not comment further on a matter now before the courts.

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