In a new lawsuit, environmental advocates say a Colorado beef-packing plant owned by JBS has been dumping polluted wastewater into a river for years. The suit comes as the Brazilian company is under fire for taking millions in President Trump's tariff bailout payments. (No paywall)
Last month, the nation’s fourth-largest beef packer, National Beef, announced plans to take over Sysco-owned Iowa Premium, a regional packer focused on processing Black Angus steers for the Upper Midwest. National Beef is majority-owned by the Brazilian firm Marfrig. (No paywall)
The meatpacking industry is famed for using all parts of the animal except the oink or the moo. Even by that standard, a tiny Canadian pharmaceutical company, BLES Biochemicals, does the industry one better, by collecting an off-white foam — a pulmonary surfactant — from the lungs of cattle at a slaughterhouse for eventual use in helping premature babies breathe, reports Stat, the medical news site.
Meatpacking giant JBS has agreed to sell Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, the world’s largest feedlot operation, to New York-based Pinnacle Asset Management. Five Rivers feeds 900,000 head in multiple states.
The Government Accountability Office urged federal regulators, in the words of Harvest Public Media, "to better protect meatpacking workers, who are often exposed to dangerous chemicals, not allowed bathroom breaks and refused medical treatment." The GAO report said workers sometimes decide not to report problems for fear of retaliation, making it harder for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to get a clear picture of conditions.
Last fall, the FBI derailed a plot by homegrown extremists to blow up an apartment complex in Garden City, Kan., that housed Somali refugees who had come there to work in the town’s meatpacking plants. In the latest story from FERN, produced in partnership with The New Republic, Ted Genoways tells how the town rallied around its newest residents.
Brazil's environmental regulator says that meatpacking giant JBS "for years knowingly bought cattle that were raised on illegally deforested land," says Reuters. JBS denied the allegation, which comes at the same time the Brazilian meat industry is reeling from a meat-inspection scandal.
With a scandal clouding Brazil's meatpackers, Montana Sen. Jon Tester announced legislation for a 120-day ban on U.S. imports of meat from the South American country. The ban will give USDA "time to comprehensively investigate food safety threats and to determine which Brazilian beef sources put American consumers at risk," said Tester's office.
Brazil is the world's largest red meat and poultry exporter, but it is losing customers in a scandal over allegations that meatpackers have sold unsafe products for years, said the BBC. Four markets — China, the EU, South Korea and Chile — that account for nearly one-third of meat exports "have now announced restrictions on Brazilian meat."
The fines for safety lapses are so low that meatpacking companies have little incentive to improve working conditions, says a story by Harvest Public Media on NPR. When Ralph Horner, an employee at JBS’s Greeley, Colorado beef facility was caught on a conveyer built and chocked to death, JBS paid just $38,500 in fines. And that was more than most cases, according to Herb Gibson, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Denver office, which sends inspectors to the massive Greeley plant. Every day, the plant’s 3,000 employees process roughly 5,600 head of cattle.