Farmers' Union Supports O'Kane Turkey Growers

NORTHERN IRELAND - Following the news that jobs may be lost at a plant owned by O'Kane Poultry, Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) says it is working to ensure the turkey growers who supply the company are retained as suppliers.
calendar icon 20 November 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The UFU has given its reaction to the possible loss of up to 140 jobs at O'Kane's Poultry. The UFU says the potential loss of these jobs is extremely regrettable and the Union will be focusing on working with the senior management in O'Kane's to ensure the turkey growers who supply the company are retained as suppliers.

UFU President, Graham Furey, said: "It is a major blow to see so many jobs potentially being lost. Our role will be to find a way to ensure the turkey growers who supply O'Kane's are retained by finding a way to utilise their poultry production facilities twelve months of the year."

Commenting on recent changes to EU poultry meat labelling legislation, which has been cited as a reason for the job losses at O'Kane's, Mr Furey stated: "The UFU has always pressed for clear and unambiguous labelling in the poultry industry. Until now, this has not been the case and it was possible for imported frozen poultry meat to be de-frosted and sold to local consumers as a 'fresh' or 'chilled' product. O'Kane Poultry did not employ this practice but it was occurring in the food chain and the issue needed to be addressed. The EU Commission have introduced new legislation which will prevent this and this will help provide consumers with more accurate information about the product they are buying."

The UFU says the new legislation, which will take effect from 1 May 2010, will give more confidence to consumers in their purchases by ensuring that the information provided on poultry meat labels is not misleading. The UFU says that the introduction of the new legislation should also produce new opportunities for the supply of fresh turkey and poultry meat for consumers and the local industry will be exploring how to deliver this.

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