Why Are Food Processing Plants Burning Down in 2022?

Faye Higbee
food processing plants

In February, Shearer’s Food Processing Plant in Hermiston, Oregon burned down, leaving two employees injured. Just a few days ago on April 13, the Taylor Farms Food Processing Plant in Salinas, California burned with plumes of smoke visible for miles away and prompted evacuations. On April 19, the Headquarters of Azure Standard Food Processing Plant in Dufur, Oregon also burned, leaving one building a total loss. People are beginning to wonder what’s going on.

Shearer’s food processing Plant in Hermiston, Oregon had a fire in February of 2022. The plant that prided itself on being a “family” had to lay off all 244 employees as a result of the explosion of a boiler at the facility. Firefighters had to protect vats of vegetable oil, potato chip bags, and a large propane tank. In spite of their best efforts, the building was a total loss. The local Chamber of Commerce stepped in to help the employees find new jobs, as the company said it would be impossible to continue the work over such a huge loss. The cause of the explosion and fire were still under investigation at last report. It is unclear if they will be able to restart their company in the future.

Taylor Farms food processing plant in Salinas, California was the maker of popular salad mixes. Authorities believe a spark from a welding project went up the wall and ended in the attic on April 13. The fire began around 7:15 p.m. The fire prompted the evacuation of at least 2,700 people, and affected the surrounding area of about 35,000. The evacuation was ordered due to a large amount of ammonia being present at the facility. The fire was finally under control at around 2 p.m. on the 14th. The impact of this fire is unclear, as the company assesses the future.

Taylor Farms screenshot via AP

Azure Standard Foods is the nation’s “premier” distributor of organic and healthy foods. There were no injuries, and the company is assessing the impact of the loss of the facility.

“While the HQ facility is a total loss, and a few product lines will be affected for the short term, other Azure Standard facilities are operating as close to normal as possible. Most importantly, we are grateful no one was injured. Our dedication to providing the highest quality food and products will continue as always. We ask for your patience and prayers as we take steps to adjust and rebuild. We appreciate our Azure community and the many expressions of support we are receiving and will continue to update our vendors and customers as needed. We expect the impact to be short-term, limited in scope and manageable.”

Azure Standard Food Processing (via Columbia Gorge News)
food processing
The Azure Standard Food Processing Facility – Screenshot via Columbia Gorge News, Alana Lackner

What do you think is going on, if anything?

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Featured screenshot of the Taylor Farms fire via Twitter

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