Maple Leaf takes up Ontario poultry plant

Option exercised on Cericola Farms' remaining facility

(Dave Bedard photo)

A southern Ontario processing plant specializing in organic and antibiotic-free poultry products has gone to Maple Leaf Foods in a postscript to a previous sale.

Toronto-based Maple Leaf announced Friday it had closed its purchase of the Sure Fresh Foods poultry plant at Schomberg, Ont., about 30 km north of Vaughan, for an undisclosed sum, along with the associated poultry supply.

The sale was an option exercised after Maple Leaf’s deal in 2018 to buy the former Cericola Farms poultry plants at Bradford, Ont. and Drummondville, Que.

The 2018 deal also gave Maple Leaf 100 per cent of the processed chicken volume from the Sure Fresh plant at Schomberg — Cericola’s “primary” processing plant — and an option to buy that plant and its supply in three years’ time.

Buying the Schomberg plant “aligns with Maple Leaf Foods’ overall strategy to continue to build its nutritious meat protein business,” the company said Friday in a release.

But its further expansion into Cericola’s line of work — air-chilled processing of antibiotic-free, animal byproduct-free and organic poultry goods — comes as Maple Leaf consolidates its own Ontario poultry operations.

Maple Leaf announced in 2018 it will build a major new fresh poultry plant at London, Ont., while closing its plant at St. Marys later this year and its Toronto and Brampton poultry plants by mid- to late 2022.

While Maple Leaf has also since held onto Cericola’s Ontario poultry plant at Bradford, it sold off the Drummondville plant in mid-2020 to Quebec poultry packer Volaille Giannone.

Giannone in turn closed the Drummondville plant a few months later following a “thorough review” of its condition. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Editor, Daily News

Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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