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National Foods to phase out production at its Riverland site

National Foods today announced it intends to phase out production at its Riverland manufacturing site by the end of June next year.

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November 10, 2009

National Foods today announced it intends to phase out production at its Riverland manufacturing site by the end of June next year.

This decision will result in the loss of 64 jobs at the McKay Road manufacturing site.

This announcement follows a decision made by National Foods in September not to resume production of long shelf-life juice at the Riverland site, after manufacturing equipment was severely damaged during an August break-in.

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 the equipment was vandalised in August. National Foods also decided to accelerate the final component of the review as it recognised it was not in its employees’ best interests to be left in “limbo” until early next year awaiting an outcome.

National Foods will continue to source fruit from the Riverland area.

National Foods will also donate its “Berri Kiosk” to the Riverland community and is working with the Berri Barmera council on details of the handover and how it can best be used to benefit the local area.

National Foods, National Operations Manager Juice Tony Owen said the decision to close the site by the end of June 2010 follows a strategic review of all National Foods’ juice manufacturing sites.

“Any decision that results in job losses is taken extremely seriously. Today’s announcement is about helping to ensure our juice products remain affordable for our consumers today and in the future,” Mr Owen said.

“The contribution that our people have made to manufacturing quality products has been outstanding. This decision is not in any way a reflection on them or the senior management at Riverland.

“When we take into consideration the excess manufacturing capability we have on the Eastern seaboard, where the majority of the market is located and the declining fruit volume in the Riverland area, the review identified that this site is not viable in the long-term.

“Our people are our primary concern right now and we are focused on supporting them and their families through this process.”Everyone whose job is impacted will receive their full entitlements and be fully supported. National Foods will consider redeployment opportunities along with relocation assistance where appropriate.

We are also providing external outplacement support and confidential counselling for our people.

For more information:

Geoff LynchElise Sullivan
General Manager Corporate AffairsCorporate Affairs Manager
03 9188 7616 or 0405 319 8190438 308 643