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Menu Foods Names New Safety Head

Toronto-based company appoints Gale Prince as chair of its food safety and quality assurance committee in an effort to rebuilt its reputation.

TORONTO β€” In a continued effort to rebuild its reputation, Menu Foods Income Fund has appointed a veteran food cop to head its product safety committee.
The Toronto-based company said Monday it appointed Gale Prince, past president of the International Association for Food Protection, as chair of its food safety and quality assurance committee.
''Gale Prince is a highly regarded food safety expert in Canada and the United States with over 40 years experience in the retail food safety field,'' Ian Ross, chairman of Menu Foods, said in a statement after markets closed Monday. ''With his lengthy record of service in industry, government and regulatory organizations, Gale is in a unique position to make a significant contribution to the Menu Foods team.''
Menu Foods said Prince is known for his leadership in the field and was the driving force behind the retail food industry's ''FightBAC!'' program on food safety training. He also conducted the industry's first food store manager certification program.
Prince also has served on the food protection and safety committees of the Food Marketing Institute, International Dairy Foods Association and the American Bakers Association.
Most recently, Prince oversaw product safety at The Kroger Co. retail stores and manufacturing plants.
The appointment of Prince comes as Menu Foods cleans up from a massive pet food poisoning scandal that began in March after some pets became sick; several died of kidney failure after eating Menu Foods products.
The contamination was traced to wheat gluten that had been laced with melamine to bulk it up by a Chinese supplier.
The company's troubles have mounted since, including last month when a third major customer cancelled its contract, identified by analysts as U.S. packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble Co.
It served notice that it will no longer buy loaf pet food products as of Oct. 1, representing about 10.8 percent of Menu Foods' sales volume in 2006. The loaf product was not affected by the March recall.
In June, Menu Foods said the same customer would no longer buy its cuts and gravy product, which made up about 11 percent of 2006 sales.
Menu Foods shares have plunged from above $7 in March, before the recall, to $2.45, where it closed on Monday before the announcement of Prince's appointment.
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