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National Foods to cease Riverland long shelf-life juice production

 

September 15, 2009

National Foods today announced it will not resume production of long shelf-life juice at its Riverland site, after manufacturing equipment was severely damaged during a break-in in August. Juice extraction and chilled juice production will continue at the site.

The decision will result in the loss of 44 jobs at the McKay Rd manufacturing site and 13 at the Hughes St blow-mould packaging production plant, which will close. Initially, redundancy will be offered on a voluntary basis. National Foods currently employs 130 people in Riverland.

Local orange growers will not be affected as National Foods’ chilled juice production requirement for local oranges remains unchanged.

A review of the site’s long-term sustainability was announced in June and the long shelf life element of that review was accelerated when equipment was vandalised in August.

National Foods’ Group Executive Manufacturing Operations Arthur Murphy said the decision recognises the complexity of returning some of the equipment to operating standards and the surplus capacity across the juice manufacturing operations around Australia. We need to minimise duplication and optimise use of resources.

“Production of long shelf life juice products was moved to other sites in August and that arrangement will now be made permanent,” Mr Murphy said. “We did not take this decision lightly, but it is critical for our long-term viability that we continually review our operation and make sure we are running as efficiently as possible.

“We recognise the significant contribution of the local workforce and management, who have done a great job producing high quality product for many years. This decision is not in any way a reflection on them.

“Our focus right now is on fully supporting our people through this process. We have a voluntary redundancy program and will look at redeployment opportunities, outplacement support and counselling. Employees affected will receive their full entitlements.

“Juice extraction and chilled juice production at Riverland remain under review and we expect to make a decision on the site’s long term sustainability in the coming months.”

For more information:

Geoff LynchElise Sullivan
Director, Corporate AffairsCorporate Affairs Manager
0405 319 8190438 308 643
geoff.lynch@www.lionco.comelise.sullivan@www.lionco.com