Plant jump start
Tuesday, 31st March, 2015
By Erica Visser
Rocky Pellegrino says the pet food he processes at a new Broken Hill plant is of such high quality he’d tuck into a plate of it himself.
The Pinnacles Road processing plant began operations last month after receiving a $120,000 injection from the Broken Hill Community Foundation in the form of an interest free loan.
Foundation Chair Vince Gauci said that while it was one of the largest investments made, the decision was made quick and easy by the competence of Mr Pellegrino’s business plan.
Mr Gauci believed it was important Broken Hill enter into the export business for long-term sustainability.
The business would also provide up to six to 10 jobs and help to cull numbers of problem kangaroos troubling local station owners.
The plant will process and export significant amounts of kangaroo meat to Adelaide, Melbourne and even China.
Much of it would go to a new Adelaide-based business, Free Range Foods Pty Ltd, which was partly owned by Mr Pellegrino.
“The best kangaroo country in Australia is around Broken Hill and by establishing the plant here we are able to process on site and quickly produce an all natural product that is becoming increasingly popular with pet owners,” Mr Pellegrino said.
He maintained that just because the product would be eaten by dogs didn’t mean that quality wasn’t important.
“We didn’t cut any corners. I keep the refrigeration on in here at six degrees (Celcius) 24/7 - that’s at the necessary level for human consumption,” Mr Pellegrino said of the newly-built cool room.
Mr Pellegrino hoped to soon install a dehydrator on site and had visions of one day producing roo meat for human consumption.
In the meantime, the public can buy his pet food direct from the site between 9am and 3pm on weekdays.
“If it wasn’t for the Foundation, we’d still be struggling in start-up. The cool room system is a huge expense when you’re starting out. We’re really appreciative of the help.”