News And Media

Public Health Notice – All samples tested were negative for E. coli O157
Thursday 11 January, 2018

January 10, 2018 – Update

This notice is being updated to reflect that the outbreak appears to be over. The risk to Canadians has returned to low and the Public Health Agency of Canada is no longer advising individuals in affected provinces to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce.

Why should you take note?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157, commonly called E. coli. The outbreak involves five eastern provinces. Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to romaine lettuce has been identified as the source of the outbreak, but the cause of contamination has not been identified. No individuals have had illness onset dates beyond December 12, 2017. As a result, the outbreak appears to be over, and the risk to Canadians has returned to low.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has completed its food safety investigation. All samples tested were negative for E. coli O157.

Although the outbreak appears to be over, the Public Health Agency of Canada advises Canadians to always follow safe food handling tips for preparing lettuce. Individuals in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador are no longer advised to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce.

The investigation into the possible source of the contaminated product remains active in the United States. This public health notice will be updated if there is any new information about the source of contamination or when the investigation closes.

How does lettuce become contaminated with E. coli?

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. A common source of E. coli illness is raw fruits and vegetables that have come in contact with feces from infected animals. Leafy greens, such as lettuce, can become contaminated in the field by soil, contaminated water, animals or improperly composted manure. Lettuce can also be contaminated by bacteria during and after harvest from handling, storing and transporting the produce. Contamination in lettuce is also possible at the grocery store, in the refrigerator, or from counters and cutting boards through cross-contamination with harmful bacteria from raw meat, poultry or seafood. Most E. coli strains are harmless to humans, but some varieties cause illness.

Investigation summary

As of January 10, 2018, there were 42 cases of E. coli O157 illness reported in five eastern provinces: Ontario (8), Quebec (15), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and early December 2017. Seventeen individuals were hospitalized. One individual died. Individuals who became ill were between the ages of 3 and 85 years of age. The majority of cases (74%) were female. There is no evidence to suggest that provinces in western Canada were affected by this outbreak.

Most of the individuals who became sick reported eating romaine lettuce before their illnesses occurred. Individuals reported eating romaine lettuce at home, as well as in prepared salads purchased at grocery stores, restaurants and fast food chains. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency worked with public health officials to determine the source of the romaine lettuce that ill individuals were exposed to. As part of the food safety investigation into the source of contamination, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency tested romaine lettuce for the presence of E. coli. All food samples have tested negative and no source of contamination has been identified.

On December 28, 2017, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a media statement regarding a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections that are genetically related to the outbreak in Canada. On January 10, 2018, an updated media statement was released by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Public health notice regarding romaine lettuce : state of the situation
Friday 22 December, 2017

The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with provincial authorities, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada is investigating an outbreak of Escherichia Coli 057 more commonly known as E coli 057.

To date, indications have linked the outbreak to romaine lettuce but the cause of contamination has not yet been identified.

Because of ongoing risks, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce, until more is known.

Vegpro International Inc. is monitoring the situation closely with the relevant authorities and its retail partners. At this time, we have no reason to believe that products sold under the FRESH Attitude brand could be related to the current outbreak.

We would like to further re-assure our consumers that their safety remains our top priority. We will keep putting food safety at the forefront of our operation by continuing to apply a rigorous food safety approach to ensure safe products from our facilities.

For more information please visit:  https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/public-health-notices/2017/public-health-notice-outbreak-e-coli-infections-linked-romaine-lettuce.html.

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FRESH Attitude brand, establishes its presence in the Okanagan Valley
Friday 08 December, 2017

Vegpro International, a Canadian leader in ready-to-eat packaged salads sold under the FRESH Attitude brand, establishes its presence in Coldstream, British Columbia to provide fresh, local and sustainable produce to Western Canada.

Coldstream, British Columbia, December 6, 2017 – Coldstream Ranch has agreed to sell Vegpro

International approximately 700 acres of premium agricultural land for the development of Vegpro’s packaged salad greens in Western Canada. The vertically integrated salad grower intends to begin operations in Coldstream starting in the spring/early summer of 2018. The transaction provides an opportunity to add value to the Coldstream agricultural land base while maintaining the integrity of one of the oldest continually operating ranches in Canada.

“Since I met Gerry Van Winden last summer, I have been impressed by his vision to create a Western platform in salad. His idea to bring organic production and develop a sustainable source of fresh produce in Coldstream will be very positive for the region while ensuring that our agricultural lands are used for what they are intended,” said Keith Balcaen, owner of the Coldstream Ranch.

Vegpro International is family owned and operated. Taking advantage of its vertical integration, Vegpro controls quality from field to fork. The company’s FRESH Attitude brand has a leading market presence with the most established Canadian retailers. With its favorable climate, quality soils and proximity to a quality labor pool, Coldstream represents the ideal location to implement the company’s Western Canadian operations and an opportunity to bring sizable organic vegetable production to the Okanagan Valley.

“We believe that Coldstream brings optimal conditions to establish Canada’s leading organic salad growing operation. Today, most of the organic produce originates from the West Coast of the US. Growing local organic produce for Canadians is one of the main goals we are pursuing in establishing a presence in Coldstream. Through our numerous visits in the region, we found a supportive community that shared our vision” said Gerry Van Winden, Founder and President of Vegpro.

“Today is an exciting day for Coldstream, particularly the Agriculture sector. The investment and commitment from Vegpro to establish their western operations in our community will bring significant economic benefits to Coldstream and Greater Vernon as well as enhance the agricultural productivity of lands within the ALR. I look forward to working with Vegpro as they move through the process of setting up their farming and administrative operations. “ said Mayor Jim Garlick, District of Coldstream

In addition to the farming operation, a 70,000 sq. ft. state of the art produce packing facility will create additional employment opportunity for local communities. Led by an experienced team, Vegpro will look to hire for several key positions in anticipation of commencing operations. Vegpro International intends to create approximately 200 new jobs over the next 3 years. The first wave of job postings will be available soon at http://vegpro.com/en/careers/

About Vegpro International

For nearly 20 years, Vegpro International has been the leading producer of fresh vegetables in Canada and is known for its FRESH Attitude brand. Specializing in the production and packaging of baby lettuces and crucifers, it also markets a wide range of vegetables grown on its own farmland. Thanks to their fields in Quebec and Florida, it provides top quality products throughout the year. Its mission is to be recognized as a leader in innovation of agricultural production and packaging of ready to eat vegetables, by bringing a combination of freshness and convenience to North America.

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If you would like more information, please contact Mr. Jonathan Blais at Vegpro International Inc or

email at jblais@vegpro.com.

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Montreal’s Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert
Wednesday 09 March, 2016

For the first time this year, Fresh Attitude is a proud participant of the Montreal’s Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert, taking place March 11, 12 and 13. On this occasion, you will discover our new “Super Food” made with baby kale.

Held at Montréal’s Palais des Congrès, this unique exhibition allows all food lovers to discover the delights and natural products from Quebec’s producers and other regions.
With over 250 exhibitors in food, ecology and overall health, Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert also offers 80 lectures and cooking demonstrations for the curious mind.

On this occasion, our Chef and R & D Manager, Luc Van Winden, will do a cooking demonstration on the Kale trend in food on March, 11 at 10:45.

Come visit us at booth 738!

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National Order of Agricultural Merit 2015
Thursday 29 October, 2015

 Sherrington – October 16th, 2015: A great year of recognition for our farming partners.

It is with great pride that we highlight the achievement of two of our farming partners this year with them winning the National Order of Agricultural Merit award. The 1st place in the Silver medal category went to Hotte and Van Winden Farm. The 3rd place in the Gold category went to Delfland Inc. Congratulations to both producers for winning these awards, which are especially renowned in the Canadian agricultural sector.

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Fresh Attitude salads in the desert!
Thursday 26 March, 2015

Yep, you read that right. At this very moment, our salads bring a fresh breeze to one of the seven Canadian teams that are taking part in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in the Moroccan desert. Driving their fabulous 4X4 decorated to Vegpro’s brand colors Fresh Attitude, our brand ambassadors, Emilie Heckmann and Julie Lorazo, will be going over sand dunes for the next 9 days in this extreme off-road rally. Bringing together 150 teams of women (the Gazelles) from the 4 corners of the world, tthe “Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc” is in its 25th edition. As a proud partner, we wish them the best of luck in their adventure. Follow the crew 176- Fresh Attitude on their facebook page.

 

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Fresh Summit 2014, Vegpro was there!
Tuesday 21 October, 2014

Vegpro wishes to thank everyone that came by our booth over the week-end, for the 2014 edition of the PMA’s Fresh Summit. See you all next year in Atlanta!

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FCC Drive Away Hunger in Quebec
Tuesday 14 October, 2014

Sherrington, october 15, 2014 -Proud partner of the Farm Credit Canada Drive Away Hunger campaign, Vegpro International Inc. will be greeting the official food drive at its place of business in Sherrington, on October 15th. For the occasion, Vegpro will give away over 10 000 pounds of food to Moisson Rive-Sud.

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Fresh Attitude, partner with the National Bank for its advertising campaign
Thursday 22 May, 2014

Sherrington, may 12, 2014 – Fresh Attitude has become a partner of the National Bank for its advertising campaign :
A business partner for many years, the National Bank has recently chosen Vegpro International Inc. and Gerry Van Winden to illustrate the quality of the customer relationship during its last publicity campaign.

The ad was first released on April 21 on the show ” Dans l’œil du dragon ” on the ICI-Radio Canada channel. National Bank plans to broadcast the commercial until July 6 on this channel, and until June 1st on regular networks (TVA, Vtele, Télé-Québec) and some specialty channels (Canal D, Z, Historia, Argent, LCN, RDI, RDS, RIS, Explora, RDS2).

We thank the National Bank for having chosen us as an example of the enterprise partnership in business banking.

Link to the video

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DUX 2014 Public vote – Thank you all for your support!
Wednesday 30 April, 2014

Sherrington, April 30, 2014 – Last January, Vegpro has introduced its new Salad kit – Greek Mix – at the DUX contest. The competition aims to recognize, enhance and spotlight the best practices in Quebec’s organizations and food industries, aiming at developing healthy lifestyles.

New this year, the “Public Vote” gave Quebec consumers the opportunity to elect their favorite product, project and communication, nominated for the DUX 2014 contest. Close to 15,000 people answered.

The results are finally in, and our delicious salad finished 7th out of 27 winners!

We wish to thank all our fans for your loyalty and support.

Show participants:

http://programmedux.com/vote-du-public/

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