December 10, 2008
Sumikin Bussan Corp., a Japanese trading company, has reduced the number of meat processing plants contracted in China from around 70 to less than 30.
Sumikin Bussan handles 10-15 percent of Japan's fried and other processed chicken imports. The company imports about 1,500 tonnes of chicken products per month, but imports from China had declined to less than 1,000 tonnes since the number of chicken processing plants were reduced by the end of October.
The company has now turned its attention to Thailand instead, as a single plant in the southeast Asia country will make up the 500-tonne shortfall, ensuring that import level remain stable. This move has increased the amount of chicken the company processes in Thailand to 2,000 tonnes.
The move has also increased processing costs by about 10 percent but Sumikin Bussan will absorb the costs through internal streamlining, and could also alter its outsourcing of pork and seafood processing.
Sumikin Bussan has formed a food safety team to check for product label oversight and inspections on residual chemicals following the scandal involving pesticide-tainted frozen dumplings made in China. The company has also become more selective about its outsourcing partners since establishing its own food safety standards.