The Arkansas-based meat processor Tyson Foods has announced that it is to begin bacon production at its plant in Cherokee, Iowa.

The company will invest more than US$30m in adding bacon production to the Cherokee facility. Production of bacon is scheduled to begin at the plant by late-summer 2006. The company already produces bacon at its units in Omaha, Nebraska and Vernon, Texas.

“We’re making this investment to help meet continued, strong demand for refrigerated and pre-cooked bacon,” said Bill Lovette, Tyson’s senior group vice president for poultry and prepared foods. “The project is another example of the technology and food safety improvements we’ve initiated to position our processed meats business for future growth.”

The company further announced that because of the move to bacon production, ham operations at the Cherokee plant, which employs 650 people, would be transferred to its units in Concordia, Missouri and Buffalo, New York, resulting in around 50 redundancies. However, Tyson added that the move will create 70 new jobs when bacon production begins in the summer. “While the changes will temporarily mean fewer jobs, our investment will restore positions and help strengthen the plant’s future,” Lovette added.