Belfast Telegraph

Embattled food firm denies damages to ex-customer in US after exodus of labour

By John Mulligan

Cuisine de France owner Aryzta has insisted that a former customer in the US is not entitled to any damages after a crackdown by immigration authorities disrupted production at one of the Swiss/Irish group's major facilities.

Tennessee-based McKee Foods sued Aryzta after a mass exodus of labour from the latter's Cloverhill production facilities outside Chicago resulted in McKee's own supply chain being allegedly disrupted, and has sued Aryzta.

Aryzta, which recently appointed Kevin Toland as chief executive, had a contract to manufacture a number of products for McKee Foods.

Aryzta has claimed in a court response to McKee Foods' legal complaint that the loss of 800 workers at Cloverhill following an immigration crackdown was outside its control, as the staff had been supplied by a third-party work agency.

"The labour shortage was an intervening, superseding cause that was not the fault of defendant," Aryzta has claimed. The group said it is relying on the "defence of impossibility of performance", as result of the sudden labour shortage.

McKee Foods owns the high-profile Little Debbie brand in the US. It claimed that it will lose millions of dollars in profits because Aryzta couldn't fulfil its orders properly. McKee terminated its contract with Aryzta despite the fact it would result in a number of its products being unavailable to consumers

Belfast Telegraph

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