The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers issued a statement that says it will review evidence in the case against Amco Produce and take appropriate actions to "protect the sector." ( File photo )

The Leamington-based Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers has vowed to protect its sector in the wake of guilty pleas by member company Amco Produce Inc. to mislabeling Mexican produce as Ontario-grown. (see related story)

The nonprofit group represents more than 200 members who grow greenhouse tomato, cucumber and bell pepper crops in Ontario.

“We will be reviewing the evidence presented in this case, and will take whatever actions that we deem appropriate to protect the sector, our producers and consumers,” the March 21 statement from the group said.

The statement noted that Amco, a licensed marketer with the group, on March 12 answered to charges brought by Canadian Food Inspection Agency for misrepresenting the origin of vegetables. The company pleaded guilty to three charges under the Food and Drugs Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act and Canada Agricultural Products Act.

Amco also was fined $210,000 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“The seriousness of the convictions will be reviewed through our own internal process and it would be unfair to make any further comments on this issue without first having the opportunity to review the facts in great detail,” the statement from Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers said.

The statement said the group works to make consumers aware of the advantages of purchasing Ontario greenhouse vegetables.

“Incorrectly labeling imported produce as being Ontario product not only misleads consumers, but also negates the investment that Ontario producers make every day into producing a superior product to meet consumer demands,” according to the statement.