US-based meat major Pilgrim’s Pride has outlined plans to invest in a processing facility in its domestic market.

Pilgrim’s, majority-owned by Brazilian meat giant JBS, is expanding its factory in Cold Spring in Minnesota.

According to a statement from the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp., a private vehicle to promote business in the area, the investment will add 50,000 square feet to the facility and up the daily output of chicken products, including Pilgrim’s Just Bare brand.

In a statement issued by the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp., Wesley Smith, Pilgrim’s Cold Spring complex manager, described the move as “an important strategic investment” for the processor. He added: “It will help ensure our Cold Spring facility can grow its capacity to provide premium chicken products for people across the country.”

Reports in May claimed workers at the plant were complaining about conditions at the site hit by a reported 190 cases of Covid-19 among employees.

Earlier this week, Pilgrim’s entered into a plea agreement with the country’s Department of Justice (DoJ) Antitrust Division in relation to an investigation into broiler chicken price-fixing.

Pilgrim’s agreed to a fine of US$110.5m for “restraint of competition that affected three contracts for the sale of chicken products to one customer in the United States”.

Last month, Pilgrim’s formally promoted its finance chief Fabio Sandri to the roles of president and CEO, announcing Jayson Penn, who had been on a leave of absence to face price-fixing allegations, was “no longer with the company”.