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Decision on future of NZ gelatine factory to come soon

Within the next two months Gelita NZ will decide whether to upgrade its earthquake-damaged gelatine plant in Christchurch.

Stuff.co.nz reports that the company is waiting on German-based parent company Gelita AG's management board to decide whether to accept an $18-million plan to fix the damaged factory.

Located in the Christchurch suburb of Woolston, the plant has 60 employees and produces around 1720 tonnes of the food additive gelatine. This is made from 12,000 tonnes of offcut cattle skin supplied from meatworks.

Gelita AG has asked Gelita NZ director and Australasian general manager Pablo Silber for information concerning other options for how the money could be spent.

The decision is expected in July or August, but the plant has experienced further problems this year in the form of fines for the emission of odours into the atmosphere.

Environment Canterbury has imposed three fines totalling about NZ $3,000 on Gelita NZ.

According to stuff.co.nz, the problem has been exacerbated by gentrification of the area and an unusually hot summer.

In addition, there were breaches in sulphur dioxide levels in the Woolston area. These were below harmful levels and they may have come from a number of plants in the area.

However, Gelita NZ plant manager Gary Monk accepted that it was likely the emissions came from the Gelita plant, given that it produces sulphurous acid to neutralise caustic mixtures in the production of gelatine.

Monk noted that there are many factories in the area and said that such breaches are caused by lingering emissions when there is little wind, rather than large single releases of the gases.

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