The Concord Planning Board approved a poultry processing plant in East Concord, New Hampshire. The vote clears the way for Fournier Foods to build a 5,500-square-foot plant for slaughtering and packaging chickens.
The company will now finalize a purchase-and-sales agreement for the 20 acres where the plant will be located. Construction is expected to begin next year.
More than 30 people attended the planning board’s meeting, but no public comments were heard. The plant has had its share of opponents, with some neighbors concerned about potential odors and other environmental issues.
Fournier Foods agreed to several conditions upon approval – among them, waste from the slaughtering process cannot be deposited in on-site dumpsters, and a plant employee will be present during pickups to clean up any spills immediately. The company has also agreed to keep a current operations and maintenance plan on file with the city, and the plant will be the sole user of its sewer, water and storm drain lines, reported the Concord Monitor.
Owned by Craig Fournier and Omar Khudari, the company presently operates a mobile unit that travels to process poultry at farms across New Hampshire. However, because that mobile unit is not required to be inspected by the USDA, poultry producers are not allowed to send Fournier Foods more than 1,000 birds per year or sell those processed birds to commercial buyers.
The plant in East Concord, however, would be certified organic and USDA inspected. In its new location, the Fournier Foods will be able to process 2,000 birds per eight-hour shift, or 6,000 birds in up to three shifts. The company, which currently has seven part-time and seasonal employees, said it will staff 23 people for each shift.