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Commissary shoppers in Korea will see uncooked poultry from the U.S. returning to commissary shelves starting in late August.
This news comes as a result of changes to Korea’s poultry embargo that had restricted the entry of uncooked poultry from the U.S. nearly nonstop since December 2014. Korea declared the embargo in 2014 after the U.S. announced the presence of avian influenza in live poultry flocks in Oregon and California, followed by additional outbreaks in other U.S. states.
“This is welcome news for everyone associated with commissaries – customers and employees alike,” said Wayne Walk, DeCA’s zone manager in Korea. “We’re working with our suppliers to get frozen thighs, breasts, wings and whole chickens, eggs and other uncooked poultry products from the U.S. into stores as quickly as possible. We expect U.S. poultry to be fully stocked again by the end of September.”
During the embargo, commissaries sold uncooked fresh (not frozen) poultry and eggs from local sources in Korea and uncooked frozen poultry from a source in Australia to meet customer demand. Commissaries will continue to carry fresh chicken products and eggs from local sources in Korea.
Because the ordering window for turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas fell earlier in the year, it’s too late for commissaries to order turkeys from the U.S. for the 2016 holiday season. “Turkey suppliers required orders placed by the beginning of April,” said Jack McGregor, DeCA’s Pacific Area logistics chief. “We ordered turkeys in April from our known and reliable supplier in Australia that produces the Steggles brand.”
Commissaries have been offering uncooked frozen chicken from Steggles since August 2015, and nearly 8,000 Steggles brand turkeys were sold in commissaries on the Korean Peninsula last year.
“We worked throughout the embargo to provide our customers with substitute poultry products.” said Walk. “We’re pleased we can now add back these uncooked poultry and egg products from the U.S.”
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit and make no profit on the sale of merchandise. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. By shopping regularly in the commissary, patrons save thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.