Quality Pork Ltd: Talks ongoing but Pilgrim’s UK says situation ‘unsustainable’

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The future of Scotland’s only pork processing plant is hanging in the balance as crisis talks are held to find a way forward for Brechin’s state-of-the-art abattoir.

Pilgrim’s UK is the sole customer for the pigmeat processed at Quality Pork Ltd’s (QPL) Brechin plant, and the company says it has held talks over the future of the site and discussions are ongoing.

However, Pilgrim’s emphasised the current situation is “unsustainable”.

The news comes in the week the plant, which employs about 120 people, announced it had stepped up production to four days after operating a three-day week since January, when an outbreak of Covid resulted in it giving up a lucrative export licence with China.

That licence has not been reinstated by China despite the plant getting the all-clear by public health authorities a few weeks after the outbreak, and it is generally believed this is related to ongoing political tensions between China and the UK.

Pilgrim’s said: “We remain deeply committed to Scottish pig farmers and customers of Scottish-reared pork however the surrender of its China export licence has meant that the QPL abattoir in Brechin has become unsustainable.”

The chief executive of Scottish Pig Producers, Andy McGowan, played down the urgency of the situation, but confirmed talks with Pilgrim’s and other stakeholders – including the Scottish Government – had been taking place for some time.

“The situation is difficult and we have commercial challenges but we are not under any imminent threat of closure as far as I’m aware,” he said.




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