The cloud of uncertainty hanging over the future of Scottish pig processing has been lifted following the purchase of Brechin abattoir by Browns Food Group.
The specialist pig slaughterhouse, which employs around 100 staff, has been owned by Quality Pork Ltd (QPL), in a close collaboration between the two farmer cooperatives, Scottish Pig Producers (SPP) and Scotlean, together with Pilgrim’s Pride UK.
However, Pilgrim’s, which has been the sole customer for the pigmeat processed at Brechin, gave notice last year that the arrangement was “unsustainable” following a downturn in the pig industry and the abattoir’s loss of a valuable Chinese export licence after an outbreak of Covid at the plant.
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.
In a statement Dumfriesshire-based Browns said: “This is an exciting new development for both companies which will ensure a promising future for Scottish pork while supporting the existing established markets.”
SPP chief executive Andy McGowan said the new arrangement would mean business as usual for Scottish pig farmers who are currently supplying the plant with around 4000 pigs per week.
“The announcement lifts the question marks surrounding the future of the site and brings about simplicity,” he said.
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