ABOVE: The new upgraded $6 million retail ready factory floor at the Casino Food Co-op. Photos: Susanna Freymark
Beef cheeks and fine wagyu steak will be cut and packaged at the new retail-ready facility in Casino.
Casino Food Co-op’s commercial supply chain manager Jeremy Miller said taking the meat through the process to be ready for the supermarket shelf was different for the meatworks that in the past has only cut and boned meat.
The new retail-ready factory produces 20 tonne a week of packaged meat that goes to Coles supermarkets in Lismore and Casino and across Australia to Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. The retail-ready meat is a ”wholly domestic market” at the moment but looking to expand into Thailand, Taiwan and the Middle East.
The facility has the capacity to pack 100 tonnes of meat a week with 15 employees working on the floor.
If locals want to buy the co-op’s meat, the branding is not obvious. Some meat has the co-op’s label (without the words Casino Food Co-op) and some of the meat has the supermarket’s label.
To identify local meat there is a number on the label. Look for EST. 239 to identify meat from Casino Food Co-op.
The Casino meatworks employs 1050 people with 800 working at the Casino site. Others work at the pork factory, the tannery or the research farm.
The new retail-ready facility in Casino cost $6 million to upgrade. The Federal Government contributed $1.55 million.
At the official opening of the new plant, the co-op’s chief executive Simon Stahl congratulated the seven employees who had each worked at the meatworks for 50 years or more.
Trevor Kenny received a watch, hat and several hundred dollars from Mr Stahl for reaching the 50-year milestone.
Mr Kenny said working 50 years at the co-op had ”been a lifetime”.
”I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve cut a lot of meat,” he said.