ST. HYACINTHE, QUEBEC — Olymel LP opened new pre-packaging facilities at the company’s poultry processing plant in St. Damase, Montérégie Est, Quebec. The project, which cost more than C$30 million ($23.7 million), included the addition of a new automated cutting line, three new automated deboning lines, four tray packing lines, a new shipping area and a refrigerated warehouse. The company reorganized the production areas at the plant, and employee facilities and the cafeteria were also expanded.

“Completing this project will enable Olymel to respond more efficiently and quickly to the requirements of customers looking for quality and large volumes of specific poultry products to better serve consumers,” said Réjean Nadeau, president and chief executive officer of Olymel. “Olymel has an undeniable competitive advantage in controlling its processing activities from A to Z and its quality right up until delivery. It’s also what our customers are looking for.”

A total of 35,000 square feet were added to the plant, bringing the available space to a total of 150,000 square feet. The weekly slaughter capacity is approximately 1 million birds at the St. Damase plant, which employs CO2 anesthesia stunning.

Olymel said the St. Damase facility can better serve customers requiring high volumes of pre-packaged poultry products that the company previously had outsourced. Company leadership expects the pre-packaging capability to significantly reduce product handling and transportation as well as provide tighter control over quality, order processing and logistics. The project was completed on time and took roughly one year. The expansion led to the creation of 80 new jobs, bringing the number of employees working at the St. Damase facility to more than 500.

To accommodate the new pre-packed tray operations, one shift will prepare air-cooled poultry products such as breasts, drumsticks, wings, deboned thighs and bone-in skin-on thighs, for private customers. The plant also supplies Olymel’s further processing plants with fresh products and has an annual production volume of 75 million kg.

“I want to thank the teams that contributed to completing this growth-generating project and acknowledge the valuable partnership from the United Food and Commercial Workers, UFCW Local 1991P, which represents the St. Damase employees,” Mr. Nadeau said. “This investment of nearly C$32 million, in addition to those made over the past few years also in the order of around C$30 million and all the new jobs it created, will have a positive effect on St. Damase’s and the greater St. Hyacinthe region’s economy.”