Plans to reopen Welsh abattoir

A Mothballed abattoir regarded as important to the rural economy of Pembrokeshire is to reopen under new ownership.

The facility, formerly run by Emcol Ltd, which went into administration in 2015 owing more than £700,000, has been bought by Carmarthenshire businessman David Davies.

Mr Davies, who established Cambrian Pet Foods in 1982 and has sites at Pencader and Llangadog, plans to reopen the Withybush Industrial Estate-based abattoir in January.

Although the new owner will need to work hard to regain the trust of farmers who lost money following the financial collapse of the previous owner, there is confidence that Mr Davies’ long and successful association with the meat industry will provide a stable future for the new business.

NFU Cymru farm policy adviser Peter Howells said it had the potential to be a “massive asset’’ for Pembrokeshire.

“There is clearly a demand for an abattoir in Pembrokeshire, to provide opportunities for farmers and local butchers to add value,’’ said Mr Howells.

Mr Davies plans to grow the scale of his venture slowly, anticipating a low throughput initially and gradually increasing numbers of animals slaughtered.

He told farmers at a meeting of the Pembrokeshire branch of NFU Cymru that the business would operate on a combination of four key principles – trust, quality, value and price.

full story – Western Telegraph

 

 

JBS closes Brazilian beef plants in latest drama

SAO PAULO, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA shut down seven slaughterhouses in Mato Grosso do Sul after a court-ordered asset freeze affected its operations in Brazil’s second largest cattle-producing state, a press representative said on Wednesday.

 

The world’s largest meatpacking company said in an emailed statement that the plants would stay closed until the matter is resolved.

The asset freeze, which affects JBS SA and the group’s holding company J&F Investimentos, is related to an investigation into alleged tax irregularities. According to JBS financial statements, the case revolves around tax benefits given to the company by the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Shares of JBS fell as much as 3.6 percent during the day following news of the plant closures, but bounced back to 8.15 reais, a 1.45 percent drop from Tuesday’s close.

The company, whose owners face corruption and insider trading charges, said a combined 730 million reais ($230.64 million) had been frozen by a lower court in the state.

JBS said it was working to restore operations and maintain 15,000 direct and 60,000 indirect jobs in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. It will continue paying employees normally, the statement said.

Laucidio Coelho Neto, president of cattle ranchers association Acrissul, said there would be oversupply in the state as other meatpackers there are not big enough to purchase the available animal stock.

Still, he did not expect the shutdown to affect beef flows to export markets, explaining Brazil was a large supplier and production can be redirected, including by JBS, to plants in other states.

Reuters

NZ frozen beef exports to Japan slump after tariff hike

New Zealand exports of frozen beef to Japan have plummeted since the country lifted tariff rates in August.

Japan increased its tariff on frozen beef to 50 percent from 38.5 percent under a World Trade Organisation safeguard following high sales of imported beef.

Following the tariff hike, just 729 tonnes of frozen beef was exported from New Zealand to Japan in August and September, down from 1,709 tonne last year and the five-year average of 1,840 tonne, according to AgriHQ’s monthly Sheep & Beef report for October.

Japan is New Zealand’s fifth largest market for red meat and co-products, with exports worth more than $302 million in the 2016 calendar year, and it’s also the market in which the country’s sheep and beef sector faces its single highest tariff burden, with $73 million of tariff payments last year.

“NZ frozen beef exports to Japan have fallen away as expected since the introduction of the temporary tariff,” AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his report. “Little frozen product will be traded into Japan from NZ until the temporary tariff is lifted in April next year.”

New Zealand chilled beef exports to Japan, which aren’t currently subject to the increase, matched last year’s volumes as well as the five-year average, AgriHQ said. Japan is New Zealand’s largest chilled beef market with exports worth $63 million last year.

full story – scoop.co.nz

Tina Morrison

EU lawmakers back Australia, NZ trade deals

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU lawmakers backed the start of free trade talks with Australia and New Zealand on Thursday, while warning negotiators they should be cautious about opening up EU markets to farm produce such as butter and beef.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said last month that the European Union should launch and conclude free trade agreements with the two countries in the next two years.

If Juncker’s time frame is achieved, the EU would get in ahead of Britain, which is also courting its two former colonies but cannot negotiate independent trade deals until it leaves the EU in March 2019.

Any future trade deals would need the approval of the European Parliament. Its trade committee voted 30 to five on Thursday in favour of starting negotiations with Australia and New Zealand in a resolution setting out lawmakers’ priorities.

High among these was respect for “sensitive” agricultural products, with imports only phased in over a transition period and safeguards built in that allow them to be suspended if they are shown to be damaging EU farms.

The most sensitive sectors, it said, could potentially be excluded from any deals.

The lawmaker’s resolution did not specify which products were sensitive, but they would certainly include beef, a key export demand of South American bloc Mercosur in a deal that could be concluded by the end of the year.

EU countries are struggling to agree how much beef they should let in, with France, Ireland and others saying their cattle farmers are under threat.

“We must be aware that the cumulative effect of these deals could be unbearable for the sector,” French Socialist lawmaker Eric Andrieu said in a debate on Wednesday. “From one trade deal to the next, we could find sectors of our agriculture disappear.”

New Zealand is the world’s top sheep meat and dairy exporter, while Australia is a major exporter of beef and wheat.

The lawmakers did recognise Juncker’s appeal for swift progress, saying each deal should be split in two to allow markets to open and import duties to fall before full agreement on all elements of trade and investment.

EU economy and industries ministers are expected to discuss negotiating mandates for both deals at a meeting in Brussels on Nov. 10, which could lead to the launch of talks before the end of the year.

story – Reuters

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop;  Editing by Catherine Evans

Game meat is great, BASC tells local papers

BASC has highlighted the benefits of game shooting and game meat in a letter sent to all local newspapers in the UK.

The letter informs readers that October heralds the start of the pheasant shooting season. It lists some of the advantages of game meat and some of the conservation and economic benefits associated with sporting shooting.

Debbie Collins from BASC said: “Local newspapers have a very important role to play in relaying the benefits of shooting sports to their readers. The aim of the letter is to point out that sporting shooting is good for the economy, good for conservation and that game meat is good to eat.”

Ian Grindy, chairman of BASC’s game shooting and game keeping committee, said: “Sending this letter extolling the virtues of game meat to local papers across the UK will hopefully highlight it to a wider audience and encourage more people to try it for themselves.”

For advice on how to cook pheasant go to www.tasteofgame.org.uk

 

Miratorg starts building biggest slaughterhouse in Russia

Russian meat giant Miratorg has begun construction on the country’s biggest slaughterhouse costing an estimated €1bn. 

Miratorg has announced the construction of a slaughterhouse worth an estimated €1bn, with the capacity to slaughter 4.5 million pigs annually.

The company is Russia’s biggest producer of pork and is owned by the Linnikov brothers who are currently Russia’s biggest farmers. They have interests in pork, beef, dairy and tillage, and produced more than 154,900 tonnes of pork for the first half of 2017.

EU Ban

Since the Russian Federation announced an import ban on agricultural products from the EU in 2014, there has been a concerted effort from the Russian agri-business sector to meet national demand and fill the vacuum that was created when EU food imports were halted.

In wake of the ban, Russia’s aim is to become self-sufficient in food by 2020

This latest venture is funded in part by the Russian government and the first stage of the project is expected to be completed in full by 2021.

By that stage the company’s total meat output will have reached an estimated 1.1m tonnes a year, which would be roughly equivalent to Ireland’s entire meat output for 2015.

full story – Irish Farmers Journal

Hannah Quinn Mulligan

Japanese imports of US frozen beef drop after tariff hike

TOKYO  (Reuters) – Japanese imports of U.S. frozen beef fell by more than a quarter in August after Tokyo hiked tariffs on such shipments as it tries to protect local farmers, data from the country’s agriculture ministry showed.

But that helped prompt a nearly 55-percent surge in shipments of U.S. chilled beef as buyers looked for substitutes, meaning overall imports of the meat from the United States were up by around a fifth.

Japan said in July that between Aug. 1 and the end of March next year, tariffs on frozen beef imports from the United States and other countries would jump to 50 percent from 38.5 percent, as a “safeguard” mechanism was triggered to help domestic producers.

Imports of U.S. frozen beef slid to 4,317 tonnes in August, down 26 percent from a year ago, the trade data showed.

Japan’s import of chilled beef from the United States surged 54 percent in August from the year before, boosting overall U.S. beef shipments by more than 20 percent to 18,038 tonnes.

Meanwhile, August imports of frozen beef from Australia rose 30 percent to 15,010 tonnes as some buyers looked for an alternative source for frozen meat.

Full story – Reuters

Yuka Obayashi

Australians push for expanded lamb definition

THE definition of “lamb” in Australia is likely to change, after the producer and processor peak bodies agreed to look at a new model.

Sheepmeat Council of Australia chief executive officer Kat Giles said the council was considering lamb definition as part of a broader review of sheepmeat language.

“In some instances, seasonal conditions and production systems can mean that producers can lose money under the current definition, because if any of the lamb’s permanent incisors begin to erupt just prior to sale, it results in the animal being classified as sheepmeat (rather than lamb), and they can receive a lower price,” she said.

Ms Giles said that producer groups were advocating for Australia to align with the New Zealand process, which allowed producers to sell animals without any permanent incisors “in wear” as lamb.

The current Australian term defines lambs as having “zero permanent incisor teeth”.

Ms Giles said they would consider broader factors before harmonising with New Zealand, and undertake a consultation process with members.

Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive officer Patrick Hutchinson said they supported the move, but it wouldn’t happen overnight.

“At the processing level we want to be making sure that whatever we agree to we are very clear to how it will work and operate in real industry situations,” he said.

This includes making sure the new definition still aligns with eating quality outcomes, and “underpins the stature of the brand that is lamb”.

full story – the weekly times

Jamie-Lee Oldfield

 

Dutch meat replacement firm told to change ‘misleading’ names

The Dutch food and product safety board has told a company making meat replacements that it must change the misleading names of a large number of its products, the Volkskrant said on Tuesday.

The Vegetarische Slager (vegetarian butcher) has been told that items such as Visvrije tonyn (fish-free tuna), kipstuckjes (chicken nuggets) and gerookte speckjes (smoked bacon bits) are confusing to customers and contravene the law.

The company has been given until March next year to change the names of its products or face a fine. The company, which has already changed the spelling of its products – using tonyn rather than tonijn, for example – says the order is politically motivated. It claims other meat replacement firms, such as Vivera and Good Bite, have not been ordered to make changes.

The Vegetarische Slager’s co-founder Niko Koffeman is also a senator for the pro-animal PvdD, while company director Jaap Kortweg is the partner of PvdD leader Marianne Thieme.

In January this year, two MPs from the right-wing Liberal VVD adopted a call by Germany’s agriculture minister to stop calling meat replacements ‘vegetarian’ schnitzels or hamburgers.

Read more at DutchNews.nl

Production suspended at 2 Sisters

One of the UK’s largest supermarket chicken suppliers has suspended operations after an investigation allegedly exposed food safety breaches.

The 2 Sisters Food Group said staff at its site in the West Midlands will need to be “appropriately retrained” before it starts resupplying customers.

It comes after allegations that workers had changed slaughter dates to extend the shelf life of meat.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has also been investigating the claims.

The Guardian and ITV News claimed an undercover reporter witnessed workers changing the “kill dates” on chickens.

They also allegedly saw meat of different ages being mixed together and codes on crates of meat altered.

In a statement, the company said an internal investigation had shown “some isolated instances of non-compliance” at its plant in West Bromwich.

“We have therefore decided to temporarily suspend operations at the site to allow us the time to retrain all colleagues, including management, in all food safety and quality management systems.”

All staff will remain on full pay and take part in training on site, it added.

“We will only recommence supply once we are satisfied that our colleagues have been appropriately retrained.”

full story – bbc