MAPLE LEAF CLASS ACTION UPDATE - December 18, 2008

Maple Leaf Foods Reaches Settlement Agreement of Class Action Lawsuits

maple leafTORONTO, Dec. 18, 2008 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX News Network) -- Maple Leaf Foods (TSX: MFI) today announced that, subject to court approvals in Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario, it has reached a settlement agreement with the principal counsel groups who launched class actions following a listeriosis outbreak that was linked to a limited number of products made at the Company's Bartor Road, Toronto facility.

"Our goal throughout this legal process has been to negotiate a fair and early settlement so that we can obtain court approvals and promptly compensate families who were affected," said Michael H. McCain, President and CEO. "This was a tragic experience and I want to acknowledge the cooperation of all the parties involved to ensure that people affected receive timely restitution."

The class actions were launched on behalf of persons that consumed or purchased for consumption products that were subject to the recall in August 2008 due to possible contamination from Listeria monocytogenes. The settlement amount will be $25 million, increasing by up to $2 million to the extent that claims and costs may exceed $25 million. The compensation paid from the settlement amount will be administered by the class counsel under the supervision of the court. Maple Leaf Foods and class counsel are of the opinion that the settlement of the class actions is fair, reasonable and in the best interests of the class. The agreement is subject to court approval. The settlement amount is fully funded by Maple Leaf Foods' liability insurers.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 23,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia. The company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2007.

SOURCE: Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

Inquiries: Lynda Kuhn, SVP Communications, (416) 926-7031