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29 November, 2006 - 12:04 By Staff Reporter

Poultry processor to close

One of the country’s largest producers and processors of turkey products is to close down its Norfolk factory with the loss of 75 jobs expected before the end of December.The Cherryridge Poultry processing plant will transfer activities to Bernard Matthews following six years of decline, which has been blamed on EU legislations and the threat of an Avian flu outbreak.

Fifteen staff will remain on the turkey production side of the business.

At its height in 2000, Cherryridge was producing 1.3 million birds each year.

That has since fallen by almost half and with a heavy Christmas weighting it isn’t enough to sustain the firm through the entire year.

Neil Roper, son of Cherryridge founders John and Bridget Roper, said the reason for the closure could be tracked back to 2005 and the EU’s decision to extend import tariffs for South American countries, exploited principally by Brazil.

The Avian flu scare then caused the European producers to “dump” excess products into the UK, causing a 40 per cent drop in prices on the commodities market.

This had a devastating effect on Cherryridge, which exports 60 per cent of its product to Europe.

Subsequent EU legislation regarding the inedible by-products led to a further drop in revenues.

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