Allen Harim Foods gained approval from the Sussex County board of adjustment for its proposal to convert a former Pinnacle Foods pickle plant in Millsboro, Del., into a poultry plant. The board approved a special use exemption by a unanimous vote on September 23.

This is the first part of the approval process for Allen Harim's plans for the Millsboro facility. Over the next several months, the company will be submitting plans to various state of Delaware agencies to obtain final approval of the permits, which are legally required for the facility to begin operations.

Once all the permits have been approved, Allen Harim Foods plans to begin operations in Millsboro in late 2015 or early 2016. The company expects to employ 700 people at the facility.


"The new facility will be a state-of-the-art poultry operation utilizing the latest technology to improve water quality.  Our goal is to be an excellent steward of the environment and we take this responsibility very seriously," the company said in a statement.

The poultry processor has previously announced plans to have two plants in one at the Millsboro facility, using one side as a processing plant and the other as a cook plant. Allen Harim hopes to use the plant to process a special breed of small chickens used in a ginseng stew popular in Asia.

Allen Harim Foods also has processing facilities in Harbeson, Del., and Cordova, Md.; breeding operations in Liberty, N.C.; and a hatchery, feed mill and corporate office in Seaford, Del.