By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
A Toronto-based Ontario pork processor has filed for creditor protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
In a statement released last week, Quality Meat Packers and Toronto Abattoirs Ltd. emphasized that filing for creditor protection is not the same as bankruptcy.
Company officials say they plan to continue to operate and will examine restructuring alternatives. The firm will be protected from creditors for at least 30 days.
Quality Meat’s is one of the largest pork processors in Ontario, and is one of the province’s four federally inspected plants which are licenced to export. The plant handles about 25 per cent of the province’s hog supply.
News about Quality Meat’s financial issues has many people in the pork industry worried. According to Amy Cronin, Chair of Ontario Pork, some producers are still awaiting payment from the company.
Ontario Pork suggests that the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus could be a contributing factor to the plant’s financial problems. There are approximately 50 confirmed cases of the virus in Ontario. PED does not affect food safety, and poses no risk to humans or other animals.
Rising hog prices and tighter supplies have probably had a negative impact on the company’s bottom line. The 83-year-old company that employs 750 people produces pork for domestic and international markets.