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17.01.2012 Business & Finance

Sucatrade Dismiss Chicken Charge

By Daily Guide
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Lawyers of Sucatrade have described as flawed the recent blanket condemnation of chicken parts imported into the country by their client, action which they pointed out, impacts negatively on the fortunes of a firm which employs directly and indirectly thousands of Ghanaians.

At a press conference yesterday, Messrs Robert Nii Arday and Martin Abedu of Clegg Associates, speaking on behalf of their client, Sucatrade, one of the affiliate companies of Finatrade noted that laboratory reports for 1000 cartons out of a total of 249,000 should not have been used as the basis for the action of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB).

As the sole representative of Tyson Foods Incorporated, USA and Sadia of Brazil Sucatrade cannot deviate from best practices in the handling of food for human consumption, adding that these are two of the leading food brands anywhere in the world.

According to them, 'the cold chain was not broken, the products in the damaged boxes were set aside in an open part, not in hiding, at a customs bonded warehouse where the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service CEPS has keys and control and not a single carton has been sold or was or is intended to be sold to consumers.'

The damaged cartons formed only 0.4% of the total consignment, they said, explaining that the FDB report did not state all the facts regarding the issue thereby creating a negative impression about the company.

According to them, following the visit to the premises of Sucatrade to find out about the damaged cartons 'Sucatrade asked to be furnished with laboratory results evidencing the FDB claim and identifying which products in particular were unwholesome.'

The officers, they said, threatened to forcefully enter the warehouse forcefully enter if they were not allowed access.

The Sucatrade Managing Director was not copied a letter purported to have been written to the Assistant Commissioner of CEPS regarding the release for destruction of some unwholesome meat in the bonded warehouse.

'Strangely while the FDB letter to Sucatrade had one laboratory report which was negative, the letter to CEPS had two, the first being the same as the one Sucatrade received but the second saying that the test of the unbroken-seal-chicken showed that it was fit for human consumption,' the lawyers stated.

The lawyers took issues with the contradictory reports from FDB, explaining that 'although there was a good report and the chicken covered under the good report was in the same warehouse as the chicken the FDB claims is unwholesome, the FDB's letter did not separate the two sets of products but asked that 'meat' in the said warehouse needed to be destroyed and this must refer to the good or the bad in their estimation.'

The chicken, which were taken away on or about 15 th December 2011, the lawyers went on, 'were neither taken away in refrigerators nor any form of storage. The FDB, they stated, did their test in a self-serving manner in their own laboratory.

The lawyers referred to the Constitution of the country, stating that administrative bodies should be fair in their tasks.

Sucatrade, they went on, is not seeking to malign FDB but to explain that laboratory results for 1000 cannot affect 249,000 cartons that have resulted in opposite results, adding 'we hope that the FDB will be fair and candid to Sucatrade and will be gracious enough to set the records straight and put out a news press release telling the story as it is.'

By A.R. Gomda

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