KKI experiments with par-cooked exports
Oudtshoorn (SA) – Klein Karoo International has resurrected its ostrich meat par cooking operation to test market acceptance, especially in the EU.
Although reports in the various regional editions of Business Report on April 12 said that “the industry” had found “a loophole” in EU regulations, KKI MD Johan Stumpf said the reference was to partly-cooked meat produced by KKI and allowed by EU regulations.
In 2008/9, KKI bought, then sold, a Midrand-based company called Karoo Cuisine which specialised in partly-cooked meat, with the intention of being able to export to the EU, within EU regulations, during outbreaks of Avian Influenza. The process requires cooking the meat for a very short period at 70°C – sufficient to kill any pathogens, without fully cooking it.
“When we sold Karoo Cuisine, we relocated some of the plant to Oudtshoorn,” he said. “The Business Report article is not accurate as we are not circumventing any legislation or rules. The OIE and EU specifically allow for this product, and our plant is accredited and has full EU registration to produce such a product.”
He said suggestions that the process would overcome the export ban were also incorrect.
“We do not have the capacity to handle all meat in this format, and would have to expand facilities in order to handle the full production of ostrich meat in this way. It is therefore really in its infancy, and we are not in a position to make statements such as that ‘it will save the industry’.
“We are, however, fairly optimistic that it could be an alternative, but a lot of work, both in the market and on the production side, still needs to be done before we can really say if it is viable in the long term.
“The industry exports, under normal conditions, between 4 000 and 5 000 tons per annum. The current plant’s capacity is only about 400 tons per annum, therefore around 10% of total production.
“When we sold Karoo Cuisine, we excluded the equipment required for producing the cooked ostrich meat, and relocated it to Oudtshoorn, specifically in the event of AI. The largest part of the business was cooked lamb meat and sauces, which was not really our line of business, and only that part was sold.”
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