Tyson Foods to close prepared foods plants

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Tyson Foods Inc. announced plans to close the company’s prepared foods facilities in Jefferson, Wis., and Chicago. Production at the plants will cease Oct. 1, 2016 during the second half of the company’s fiscal year. Tyson said the plant closures will enable the company to transfer production to some of its other prepared foods operations.

Tyson produces pepperoni at the Jefferson plant, while the Chicago facility makes prepared foods for the hospitality industry. The closures will affect approximately 880 individuals, including about 480 at the Chicago plant and about 400 at Jefferson. No other facilities in Chicago are affected by this announcement, the company said.

Tyson attributed the closures to a combination of factors, including changing product needs and the age of both facilities. The company added that the costs to renovate the facilities were prohibitive. The distance of the Chicago plant from its raw material supply also was a factor.

“We examined many options before we turned down this road,” said Donnie King, president of North American operations. “This affects the lives of our team members and their families, making it a very difficult decision. But after long and careful consideration, we’ve determined we can better serve our customers by shifting production and equipment to more modern and efficient locations.”

Tyson acquired the Chicago plant in 1994 from a private owner. The plant made meals exclusively for airlines. Tempura chicken, meatballs, crepes, omelets, soups, sauces and Chicken Cordon Bleu currently are produced there.

The Jefferson facility produces sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings in addition to sliced pepperoni and salami products for the foodservice and deli segment. The plant was part of Tyson’s acquisition of IBP, inc. in 2001.
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