Maidstone tomato processing facility to be saved by Mississauga company
A company in Mississauga is finalizing the purchase of the Thomas Canning tomato processing facility in Maidstone to build a new state-of-the-art plant.
Golden Miles Foods says it is working on the details with the Richter Advisory Group, a Toronto-based firm that was appointed by the court as receiver of Thomas Canning's assets in June.
Owner Santosh Mahal tells CTV Windsor they are interested in the Essex County property because they want to create their own pasta sauce.
Construction is nearly complete on the food processor’s flour mill and pasta plant near Brantford.
Mahal says their plans include spending up to $80-million to build a new plant that will produce 1,000 tonnes of tomato paste each day.
Mahal adds their plan is to hire local residents and work with local farmers.
He says more details will be announced “hopefully within the next two weeks.”
Essex MPP Taras Natyshak issued a statement Friday, about Thomas Canning entering receivership.
"First and foremost, I am concerned for the local workers, producers, and families affected by this change,” says Natyshak. “Ontario’s agricultural producers and processers have been hard hit in recent years, and we need to do what we can to keep this vital part of our economy, and our community, healthy and thriving, including making sure employees and producers owed money by the current owners are paid what they’re owed.”
Natyshak says he will be closely watching the situation, and working with the community however we can.
Officials from Thomas Canning were not available for comment for this story.
Thomas Canning was an Essex County success story as recent as 2014.
That is when the tomato processor accepted a $3-million grant from the provincial government, and the Maidstone company also signed a $25-million deal with a Nigerian company to produce tomato products for the African market.
But in 2015, Thomas Canning was charged with mislabeling conventional tomatoes as organic, selling canned tomatoes with a false country of origin and making false statements to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
A $2.85-million lawsuit against the company was also launched in March 2017 when nine tomato growers from Essex County and Chatham-Kent sued for breach of contract.
That case is expected to return to court next month.