“Cargill takes the environmental, health and safety of our operations very seriously,” a company spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “We have invested heavily in the site since acquiring it in 2008 to minimise odour and the site has achieved ISO 14001 certification.”
The factory has been the subject of complaints to the Environment Agency (EA) from nearby local residents and businesses that it is generating smells reminiscent of rotting flesh.
No rotten produce
However, Cargill’s spokeswoman stressed that there was no rotten or decaying produce on site, which operated according to strict hygiene standards. “Waste products are removed offsite by third parties at least on a daily basis,” she said.
John Bradshaw, md of Three Counties Steel Buildings, is just one of those who complained to the EA.
Cargill said it had reacted appropriately to the concerns raised and had taken every step it could to address the situation.
“As soon as we were made aware of Mr Bradshaw’s concerns we started an internal investigation and have been in contact with the EA,” the spokeswoman said.
“No issues have been detected by our monitoring systems (our odour control system) and all other checks of the site have not produced any issues.”
‘No further action’
In addition, the EA had been satisfied that there were no serious issues to tackle, she said. “We invited the EA on site to inspect for themselves and they also found no issues. We have been told that no further action will be taken by the EA.”
Len Lawton, Conservative Party councillor for Newent Central told this site that he had regularly been stopped in town by local residents complaining about the smell emanating from the factory.
“It’s been going on for quite a while, but the issue has certainly grown over the past few years. I don’t experience it myself, because I live at the far end of town, but I have driven by and thought, ‘this is a bit musty’.”
Lawton explained that the plant had been built some distance away from a local housing development, which had grown much closer to it, so residents were more exposed to odours.
Invited to visit
He said the factory manager had invited him to visit the site about a month ago to view investments made there, but he had heard nothing further since then.
“I am still looking forward to visiting the plant to discuss what other improvements they have in the pipeline,” said Lawton.
Cargill’s primary and further processing chicken plant in Newent processes 350,000 birds a week into either fresh chicken products or further processed chicken products for restaurants, retailers and food suppliers.
Earlier this year, it emerged that poultry processor Moy Park had conducted an odour abatement project at its factory in Grantham to tackle unpleasant odours it was generating.