Tyson Foods to Close Two Prepared Foods Plants

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Tyson Foods Inc. on Thursday announced plans to shut down operations at a prepared food plant in Jefferson, Wisconsin, and one prepared food plant in Chicago during FY2016.

The decision will affect approximately 880 people, including about 480 at Chicago and about 400 at Jefferson, according to a press release.

“We examined many options before we turned down this road,” Donnie King, president of North American operations for Tyson Foods, said in a press release. “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.”

The planned closures are due to a combination of factors, including changing product needs, the age of both facilities and prohibitive cost of renovations, as well as the distance of the Chicago plant from its raw material supply base, according to the press release.

Tyson Foods bought the Chicago plant in 1994, when it was being used to make airline food, according to the press release.

Now, the plant produces tempura chicken, meatballs, crepes, omelets, soups, sauces and chicken cordon bleu for the hospitality industry.

The Jefferson facility, which makes sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings, as well as sliced pepperoni and salami for deli and foodservice applications, was part of Tyson Foods’ acquisition of IBP Inc. in 2001.

Founded in 1875 by the Stoppenbach Family, as a beef, pork and lamb processing facility, it was sold in 1934 to the Bauch and Tensfeldt families.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the plant was converted to further processing, concentrating on pepperoni for the pizza industry. The plant was sold to Doskocil Foods in 1985, which later became Foodbrands America and was acquired by IBP, inc. in 1997, according to the press release.

The company said the closures should happen before next October.