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SunOpta Inc. Establishes New Long Term Debt Arrangements

December 20,2005
SunOpta Inc. Establishes New Long Term Debt Arrangements

TORONTO--Dec. 20, 2005--SunOpta Inc. (NASDAQ:STKL)(TSX:SOY) announced today that it has converted US$45.0 million of variable interest debt to fixed rate debt with a five year interest rate of 6.44% and 100% principal repayment at the end of five years. This debt replaces existing term debt of approximately US$40.0 million and bank indebtedness of approximately US$5.0 million.

This debt has been provided by the following Life Insurance companies: The Manufacturers Life Assurance Company; John Hancock Life Insurance Company; and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada and allows SunOpta to take advantage of historically low long term debt rates in an economic environment where variable interest rates are rising.

John Dietrich, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of SunOpta, commented "that the new debt arrangement will improve the company's cash flow by a minimum of US$4.2 million per year which will support the company's strong internal growth and acquisition program. SunOpta's long term debt to equity ratio is still very reasonable at .37:1, allowing room for potential future financing via the debt markets when and if required."

The company's existing bankers will continue as agents for SunOpta's overall debt syndication structure and continue to fund working capital needs and acquisitions through various lines available to the Company.

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses, focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food markets. For the last seven consecutive years, SunOpta was included in Profit magazine's 'Profit 100' list of the 100 fastest growing companies in Canada. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the SunOpta BioProcess Group which engineers and markets proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, bio-fuel and food processing industries. Each of these business units has proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive advantage in its sector.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to references to business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, capital expenditure plans, business and operational growth plans and references to the future growth of the business. These forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and its interpretation of current conditions, historical trends and expected future developments as well as other factors that the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstance. However, whether actual results and developments will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to; general economic, business or market risk conditions; competitive actions by other companies; changes in laws or regulations or policies of local governments, provinces and states as well as the governments of United States and Canada, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.

    CONTACT: SunOpta Inc.
             Jeremy N. Kendall, Steve Bromley, John Dietrich,
             Susan Wiekenkamp, 905-455-2528, ext 103
             Investment Community Inquiries:
             Lytham Partners, LLC
             Joe Diaz, Robert Blum, Joe Dorame, 602-889-9700

    SOURCE: SunOpta Inc.

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