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The poor to eat USA chickens

| Supplier news

Most of the chicken imported from the US is not sold in major retailers across the country. "You will find these products generally at third tier supermarkets, as they are aimed at lower income groups," South African Poultry Association chief executive Kevin Lovell said.

He said Shoprite Group, unlike most major retailers, has a permit to import the US chicken products directly.

Lovell said that poultry producers agreed on the quantity of chickens that should be imported from the US but were concerned about the weakening of the safety standards of the products in comparison to products imported from other countries.

He said the chicken products, unlike motor cars imported from other countries, were not customised for the domestic market and were leftovers that were defrosted and repackaged.

Pick n Pay confirmed that it was currently not selling the chickens.

"All our fresh chicken is produced locally and we don't import any chicken from the US," said Pick n Pay in a statement.

"If we did, it would have to be labelled as such. In terms of inflation we are working hard, as always, to keep prices as low as possible for our customers."

US bone-in chicken leg quarters and drumsticks landed in SA in February, which brought to an end several months of negotiations with the US on the terms required to secure its position in the African Growth and Opportunity Act for the next 10 years.

Shoprite said it would only sell small quantities of the consignment in its Western Cape stores.

"Shoprite will receive a small quantity of pre-packaged frozen chicken leg quarters imported from the US towards the end of April," Shoprite Group spokeswoman Sarita van Wyk said.

"This consignment represents less than 1% of the supermarket group's frozen chicken sales and will be allocated to Shoprite supermarkets in the Western Cape only due to the low quantity."

US chicken products hit SA shelves on March 15.

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