HEREFORD, England – Cargill Meats Europe announced the company’s further-processing plant in Hereford would no longer produce breaded and battered chicken products for British retailer Asda. The move will be effective June 1.

“This extremely difficult situation follows the disappointing loss of the Asda B&B business during a competitive tendering process,” the company said in a statement. “In light of this, Cargill’s European chicken business has decided to further increase its focus on growing its primary fresh chicken business in line with its £35 million investment in fresh chicken over the past several years.”

Mary Thompson, managing director of Cargill Meats Europe, said every effort would be made to minimize the impact on employees. “I’d like to personally thank every employee for all their hard work and commitment to Cargill and producing such high quality fantastic products,” she said in a statement.

Cargill said the company does have opportunities available at other facilities. The company has entered a consultation period with employees and their union representatives.  Joe Clark, regional officer for trade union Unite, said in a statement the job losses amounted to a 20 percent reduction in the Yazor Road workforce. The announcement does not affect workers at Cargill’s Grandstand Road plant.

“It is early days in the consultation process, but we are quietly confident that we can avoid compulsory redundancies through voluntary redundancy and redeployment at the Grandstand Road plant,” Clark said.  “We will be working closely and constructively with the company in the weeks ahead and I appreciate that it is a worrying time for our members, but we will be keeping them fully informed of how the talks with management progress.”

Cargill operates two facilities in Hereford. The Grandstand Road facility is dedicated to primary processing while the Yazor Road location specializes in further-processed whole birds and parts.