Rumours the butcher facilities at the Canada Safeway store here are being eliminated, and meat would be shipped in from Winnipeg, are wrong, a company spokesperson said.
Toby Oswald said Canada Safeway is examining the possibility of closing some butcher facilities in Manitoba stores when a new processing plant opens in Winnipeg.
But she said the company never intended on removing butchering facilities and cutting jobs in Fort Frances.
“We announced the option because a case ready plant was opening in Winnipeg to supply Winnipeg and Manitoba stores with case ready meats,” she said.
“There had not been any plans made to take that out of the Manitoba market at this time.”
Case ready meats are those that already have been cut, packaged, and ready to appear on store shelves.
Currently, meat is cut in larger portions and shipped to individual stores, where their meat department cuts the product into smaller servings and packages them for consumers.
Oswald said many other companies already have moved towards case ready products.
“The food is actually safer because there are less people handling the meat,” she said, adding the meat processed at a larger plant would be under even more stringent safety protocols.
“And in some cases, the product is fresher because the production time is even shorter.”
Even if Safeway decides to process Manitoba meat in the new Winnipeg plant and ship it to individual stores across Northwestern Ontario, Oswald said they can’t go ahead with plans just yet.
“The process is on hold until because of labour negotiations,” she said, adding they wouldn’t be resolved until at least March.