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Smithfield to close Vernon plant due to rising California costs -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Products of Smithfield were displayed during a Hong Kong news conference about the annual results of WH Group in China, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Leah Douglas

Smithfield Foods announced on Friday that the largest processor of pork in the world will be closing its Vernon, California plant. It also plans to reduce its West hog herd.

In a statement, the company said that the closing was due to California’s increasing cost of doing business. It comes at the same time as a new state law requires more space for livestock.

Smithfield was owned by the Hong Kong listed WH Group (OTC:) Ltd. Reuters inquired about whether Proposition 12 influenced the decision to close Smithfield.

The company stated that workers at the plant would be provided with financial and transition support, as well as the possibility to move to Smithfield facilities.

John Grant (president of United Food and Commercial Workers770), which represents Vernon’s workers, said that they reached a fair deal to pay their workers up until next year.

Smithfield’s Farmer John pork processing plant was among those that had the most severe COVID-19 outbreaks in the United States, according to FERN (Food and Environment Reporting Network). This plant was mentioned by media and agencies all through the pandemic.

California’s workplace safety regulator imposed a fine of more than $100K on Smithfield in addition to a subcontractor for not adequately protecting workers from the virus.

Following a review of East Coast operations on the East Coast, the pork firm decided not to slaughter pigs at Smithfield, Virginia’s hometown plant. [L1N2OP2VK]