Arla Foods has announced proposals that could lead to the closure of its Trevarrian cheese making facility in Cornwall.

The planned closure, which would take place during the summer, could spell the loss of 37 jobs at its creamery near Newquay, and the company is now in consultation with employees to decide its ultimate fate.

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) has described the potential loss as 'a devastating blow for the workforce and local economy.'

The site produces a range of brie, camembert and other cheese products predominantly under local brands or own-label retailer brands.

According to the company, volumes at the site have been in decline in the past three years, and this has been significantly worsened by the loss of a number of key own-label cheese contracts on top of the continued instability in foodservice demand due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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Alison Rance, vice president of production for Arla UK, said: "As a farmer-owned dairy company, our mission is to return the highest value for our farmers’ milk, sustaining a robust milk price for them that allows them to keep investing in sustainable dairy farming for the future and high animal-welfare standards.

"Unfortunately, the drop in production volumes for the site means we believe it is no longer financial responsible for us to keep our Trevarrian facility in operation.

"We have explored multiple options including additional volume opportunities for the site, but see no other alternative than to propose a closure of the site.”

"We recognise that this will be a difficult time for all those colleagues impacted by these proposals and our priority right now is to support them to manage this situation as best we can.

"We are entering into full consultation with all colleagues affected by this proposal, and their trade union representatives.

"If the proposal goes ahead we are committed to supporting affected colleagues at this difficult time and will do everything we can to support them in their search for suitable alternative employment, either within Arla or elsewhere."

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David Clift , USDAW Area organiser said: "This is clearly devastating news for the employees at the site and is a significant blow for the local economy.

"While recognising that the loss of key own-label cheese contracts and the instability in the food service market lie behind this proposal USDAW will be doing all it can during the collective consultation process to look at alternatives, protect jobs and secure the best deal possible for members."