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Thai Union Splits Canning From Cleaning

Thai Union’s announcement of closing its Chicken of the Sea operations in American Samoa is giving the tuna industry a lot to talk about. Thai Union Frozen has chosen to alter its policy and make a clear separation between the tuna cleaning and canning locations around the world.

The official information given by Chicken of the Sea’s press office is that they are ceasing canning operations in Samoa - by end of September this year and opening a domestic canning operation in Georgia, south of United States starting in October 2009. The new plant will only be canning tuna – not cleaning.

Frozen pre-cooked-cleaned–and-vacuum-packed skipjack loins will be brought in, imported from Thai Unions’ plants in Thailand, and potentially in the future from loining plants in Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, and China.

Rumors about the company moving its processing operations to Vietnam because of lower wages levels were said to be untruthful by the press office.

Doubts on whether the American Samoa government would purchase Chicken of the Sea Samoa Packing were answered last week when the acting governor said that the country does not have the money to purchase the cannery, but that it would be nice if some other company would take over Samoa packing.

Considering the high capacity of the tuna canning plant, that will prove a difficult option.