June 27, 2008


Smithfield Foods under EPA investigation for plant discharge

Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) said the US Environmental Protection Agency has started an investigation relating to a "release" that occurred June 10 from the company's Souderton, Pa., facility that resulted in fish kill.


The Smithfield, Va., pork producer said the release reached Skippack Creek and that Smithfield Foods is cooperating with the federal inquiry, according to its annual report filed Thursday (June 26, 2008) with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Smithfield Foods said an initial investigation revealed the discharge was condenser water from its rendering plant which had bypassed the wastewater treatment facility. The plant provided notice of the release on the same day to state environmental authorities and prepared a written report to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Fish and Boat Commission, the company said.


The company is also responding to a second request by the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice regarding the proposed sale of its Smithfield Beef division to JBS S.A. of Brazil.


Smithfield Foods said it expects the transaction will be completed in the fiscal second quarter, barring regulatory delays.


Also, the company said it would incur US$300 million for the transition to group pens from individual gestation stalls at its sow farms. The programme, announced last year, will occur over the next 12 to 13 years, the filing said.

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