US meat processing company Tyson Foods is closing two of its case-ready meat production facilities.

The sites affected will be in Jacksonville, Florida and in Columbia, South Carolina, the company confirmed to Just Food.

Commenting in a statement, Tyson described the news as “a difficult decision”.

It said it would “make every effort” to relocate employees to different sites, adding that it would “partner with state and local officials to provide additional resources.” 

“With a focus on optimising our operational footprint, we are reallocating resources to operate as efficiently as possible, while maintaining ample capacity to serve our customers.”

According to the Jacksonville Daily Record, the company filed a notice for the Florida plant yesterday (8 November), which will see it shut for good on January 8 2024, putting 219 jobs at risk.

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Just Food has contacted Tyson for more confirmation on the number of employees affected, as well which remaining plants might take on the affected staff.

The rationale for the closures is not clear. However, the company announced it was facing pressures in its chicken, beef and pork operations earlier this year and had not ruled out further plant closures at that point.

In March, Tyson shut two poultry plants in Virginia and Arkansas, which, combined, employed over 1,600 people.

In August, the group also announced the closure of four domestic chicken factories in light of slowing demand and a drop in profits. The plants affected included two in Missouri and one each in Indiana and Arkansas.

In a call with analysts that same month, following the release of its fiscal 2023 third-quarter results, CEO Donnie King described the closures as “decisive actions that we’re taking to successfully navigate the current market environment”.

Tyson is due to publish its annual results on Monday 13 November.