Thomas Foods International

PUBLISHED December 20, 2020

Ground has been broken today (December 16, 2020) on the site of the new Thomas Foods International processing plant at Murray Bridge.

A Worldclass Transformation

The official sod turning event marked the start of building works on the greenfield site that will now be transformed into a world-class meat processing facility.

Thomas Foods International Chief Executive Darren Thomas was joined by South Australian Premier, The Hon Steven Marshall, along with other state, federal and local community leaders at the event held less than three years after the devastating Murray Bridge plant fire.

Darren Thomas said the property approximately 10km outside of the Murray Bridge town centre was the ideal location for the new flagship facility of Australia’s largest 100% family owned meat processing company. 

“Our company made a commitment on Day One of the fire to rebuild,” Mr Thomas said.

“We said we’d come back bigger, better and stronger.

“Since then, we’ve focussed on fulfilling that promise. We’ve faced droughts and a global pandemic along the way but we’ve persevered and maintained a positive outlook.

“We see this becoming the most advanced multi-species meat processing facility of its kind in Australia, if not the world. It will service our global operations for decades to come. 

“This represents the single largest investment by our company in its history. However, we wouldn’t be here today without the amazing support from our staff, suppliers, customers, political leaders and the local community. 

“Today is an exciting and humbling occasion. We can’t wait to see it all begin to take shape.”

On January 3, 2018 fire destroyed Thomas Foods International’s Murray Bridge processing plant. Most importantly, all staff were safely evacuated and no-one was injured.

Last month South Australia’s largest private commercial contractor and one of Australia’s largest privately-owned builders, BADGE, was appointed to undertake the design and construction of Stage One of this highly anticipated project. This stage will include:

• Beef processing facilities with an initial capacity of up to 600 head per day
• Animal handling facilities designed to the highest animal welfare standards
• Beef boning room with automated packaging technology
• Stockyards
• Employee amenities and administration facilities
• Fully automated carton chilling, freezing and storage systems
• Electrical, refrigeration and boiler systems to the highest energy efficiency standards

Construction and commissioning of Stage One is expected to be completed over 24 months.

The exact timing of the subsequent stages of the development is yet to be determined but will include the addition of smallstock (sheep and lambs) processing facilities and further expansion of the beef facilities in order to take the plant’s total processing capacity to 1,200 head of beef and 15,000 head of smallstock per day.

In total, the project is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs.

Thomas Foods International is headquartered in South Australia with operations across Australia and in key international locations. The business specialises in meat processing and distribution globally across the retail, wholesale and food service sectors.