Jamaica Observer:-At least one local manufacture and distribution company, GraceKennedy, is now contemplating the manufacture of corned beef at its local meat facility.
GraceKennedy’s decision to explore the manufacture of corned beef locally comes as Jamaica lifts the two-week-long ban on the importation and sales of corned beef from Brazil, a move which undoubtedly placed a dent in the revenues of the local distributors.
Chief executive officer of GraceKennedy, Don Wehby, in a press release yesterday announced plans to have its innovation team look at the requirements to have the company produce corned beef at GraceFood Processors in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland.
Currently GraceKennedy’s Westmoreland plant manufactures a wide range of products, including Grace Vienna sausages, Grace frankfurters and Grace Country Pride ham. However, Wehby noted that, “It would be great if we could deliver to our consumers ‘Grace Bully Beef’ manufactured in Savanna-La-Mar, Jamaica.”
“We recognise that innovation requires thinking outside of the box and because we prioritise local production and pursue every opportunity to do so, I have asked the innovation team to look at what it would take to produce corned beef at Grace Food Processors – our meat-processing plant in Westmoreland,” he said.
“The team will explore this innovation and provide a report to me as soon as possible.”
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries yesterday lifted the ban on local sales of corned beef imported from Brazil following reports that several major meat processors in that country have been “selling rotten beef and poultry”. Brazil supplies more than 95 per cent of corned beef imported to Jamaica.
The lifting of the ban follows a report submitted by the Jamaican delegation — including GraceKennedy and Lasco representatives — which travelled to Brazil to meet with authorities and inspected beef supplier operations. Based on the positive findings, Minister Samuda lifted the ban at a press conference yesterday.
While welcoming the lifting of the ban, Lasco Distributors in an emailed response to the Jamaica Observer expressed concerns that it will take some time for the sales of corned beef to normalise.
Nonetheless, the distributor commended the ministry for their due diligence in protecting the health and safety of Jamaica’s citizens and the speed in which the investigation was completed.
On Tuesday Karl Samuda, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, indicated that the ban on corned beef imported from Brazil had been lifted.
Wehby said the decision of the minister backed up GK’s investigation conducted by a team sent to Brazil.
Andrea Coy, CEO of Grace Foods Domestic, and Zak Mars, head of innovation and global sourcing, visited plants in Brazil last week.
“We are pleased that the Government of Jamaica has lifted the ban… There can be no compromise on quality. Our factories and suppliers must meet internationally recognised food industry standards,” Wehby said.