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 TORONTO, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was released today by Sharon's Finest:
 Sharon's Finest, a tofu products company from Santa Rosa, Calif., has won permission to sell two new products in the province of Ontario by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Now the only legal products of their kind in Ontario, AlmondRella and Low-Fat TofuRella should be appearing on the shelves of supermarkets and natural food stores in March. The exemption was the result of negotiations after the Ministry banned regular TofuRella last September.
 TofuRella is a cholesterol-free and reduced-fat product made from tofu, and has been sold in Ontario and throughout Canada since 1987. Although it melts, stretches and tastes like cheese, it was not compared to cheese, but rather it was called a tofu product. Nevertheless, the province of Ontario banned TofuRella from sale in Ontario, cutting the firm's Canadian sales in half.
 "It's a David and Goliath battle. All the provinces have these old anti-consumer laws on the books which were written to artificially maintain a market for butterfat, which is always in oversupply. Unfortunately, the provinces also have deep pockets and too much power," said Richard Rose, president of Sharon's Finest. "So far we've spent $50,000 to protect the Canadian consumer's right to buy healthy foods. Being the best-selling product of its kind, Ontario took a hard line on TofuRella when they realized how successful we became, which is only because we met the health and dietary needs of the consumer. For some reason they chose to ban TofuRella while ignoring dozens of other more- successful products that are also illegal, including many from Ontario dairy companies. TofuRella is no threat to the dairy industry since there are no Canadian competitors, we don't compare it to cheese on the label, it is more expensive than cheese, and local dairy companies could make it if they wished."
 "And besides, consumers want and need to have reduced-fat and cholesterol-free products like this available. Even the Health Protection Branch and Consumer and Corporate Affairs wants to see TofuRella sold freely. In fact, a survey by the BC government last year found that over 90 percent of consumers want the right to decide whether to buy these types of products; they don't want the government restricting the availability of wholesome and healthful products for no good reason. Especially since all health experts recommend that people reduce their intake of fat and cholesterol, for which TofuRella is perfect. The survey also predicted minimal impact on the sales of dairy products."
 AlmondRella and Low-Fat TofuRella should be on the shelves in March. Among the supermarkets that carried TofuRella before and should now stock the two new products include Loblaw's, Oshawa, Zehr's, Ziggy's, and A&P. The suggested retail price is $3.99 per 227-gram package. Both products melt and stretch and have cheese-like flavor. Also expected are new foods such as fat-free pizza that use Low-Fat TofuRella.
 Undaunted by the protectionist actions of Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta, the firm is still keen on Canada. "We believe in putting money back into Canada, that's why 5 percent of the profits from the sale of our products in Canada stay in Canada to help protect the environment," said Rose. "So far we've given $4,400 to the Sierra Club of Western Canada. Our products also generate a tax of 10.2 percent for the government upon their importation. We've been selling in Canada since 1987. CCA has approved our labels. We've made a commitment to Canada, and it is a very large part of our business. We are a good corporate friend of Canada, and do more for the quality of life of the country than many domestic firms. But being forced to spend $50,000 to protect the consumer's right to buy healthy foods just takes money away from productive uses."
 Since 1980 Sharon's Finest has been a leader in the development, marketing, and popularization of unique food products that cater to special diets. All products are cholesterol-free, reduced in fat or fat-free, calorie-reduced, and made of real, natural ingredients.
 -0- 3/2/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Full press kits and photographs available on request. Attention Ontario media: Richard Rose, president of Sharon's Finest, will be available for interviews in Toronto on March 4 and 5. Call Sharon's Finest for appointment, or Westin Harbour Castle at 416-869-1600 (fax 416-869-0573) after Wednesday night./
 /CONTACT: Richard Rose, president of Sharon's Finest, 707-576-7050/

CO: Sharon's Finest ST: California, Ontario IN: FOD SU: PDT

TM -- SF014 -- 2198 03/02/93 17:54 EST
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Date:Mar 2, 1993

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