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S. Ont. meat processor funded for new equipment

A southern Ontario deli meat maker has picked up a government loan for new equipment to help meet federal inspection requirements for quick-chilling.

Heidelberg Foods, based at St. Jacobs, just north of Waterloo, has received repayable funding of over $77,000 through the federal AgriProcessing Initiative to buy and set up an automatic de-linking machine, chill cooler unit and blast freezer unit.

The equipment is expected to allow Heidelberg to meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency quick-chilling requirements for uncured meat products.

The added equipment is expected to result in increased demand for pork, beef and turkey and “creation of new jobs for the people of Ontario,” the government said.

Heidelberg, which has operated at St. Jacobs since 1987, picked up federal registration for its plant in 2007 and later moved to remove allergens from its products.

The company now bills its product line as gluten-, soy- and lactose-free, which according to general manager Steve Caron led to “a significant increase in demand for the Noah Martin-brand products, particularly the meat snacks.”

The equipment, and the loan to buy it, “will give our St. Jacobs plant the much-needed extra capacity to meet projected growth — not only in shelf-stable meats but also in our whole-muscle hams, turkeys and roast beef,” he said in the government’s release.

The company’s product lines include salamis, cold cuts, hams, bacon, sausages, loaves, sausage rings and coils as well as Noah Martin’s-brand summer sausage and pepperoni snack sticks.

The five-year, $50 million federal AgriProcessing Initiative, which helps processors finance new (or new-to-company) technologies and equipment, flows from the government’s five-year (2009-14), $500 million Agricultural Flexibility Fund.

Projects involving AgriProcessing funds have to be completed by the end of March 2014.

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