The Manufacturing Process
Farmer’s Choice currently produces around 17,000 tons of meat per year. While most of this consists of pork and beef produce, several hundred tons of other perishable products are also distributed, including turkey, chicken, dairy products, vegetables and tilapia.
There are three essential criteria in ensuring that Farmer’s Choice products are kept to the international standards expected of them: time, temperature and hygiene. To satisfy these standards the company’s managers have left nothing to chance. There are two on-site generators producing a total of 1500 kva, as well as a constant water supply from two boreholes within the compound. The water is chlorinated to appropriate safety levels and checked for cleanliness three times a day.
The health of the pigs is another crucial factor that needs constant monitoring, not just to ensure good quality meat, but also for humanitarian reasons. Government Veterinary Inspectors regularly check the off-site pig units, as well as those of producers who are subcontracted to supply pigs for slaughter. As soon as the animals arrive at the slaughter-house from the pig units, they are put into a lairage that has been built to Kenya Government Veterinary specifications. Here an inspector checks them for any sign of disease. Immediately prior to slaughter, the pigs are screened for any sign of distress that might adversely affect the quality of the meat. The animals are killed painlessly, having been rendered unconscious by an electric stunner immediately beforehand.
The cleaning, dressing, inspection and subsequent butchering of the pigs are all strictly controlled, both in terms of the temperature at which each operation takes place, and the time allowed before the animal is moved to the next stage. All workers in the plant are made acutely aware of the need to remain clean at all times. The wearing of white coats, boots and hats is obligatory in all production areas. All the meat products are packed on site; either by vacuum or in food grade wrappers. The meat for sausages is encased in collagen that has been imported from the UK. This gives the sausage a tender bite whilst ensuring sterility.
All the packages pass through a computerised dating machine that ink jets the date of manufacture and sell-by date onto each package, ensuring that the product reaches the consumer in a fresh state. Before final dispatch from the plant, all products are stored at 0° Centigrade, having been scanned to ensure quality and safety. Over 140 vans are involved in distributing Farmer’s Choice meat products across East Africa. They are all either refrigerated or especially insulated, operating on a distribution schedule that ensures the most rapid delivery possible to retail stores, hotels, institutions and fast food outlets alike.