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Smithfield Foods investigates whether worker peed on factory line, as video may show

Smithfield Foods confirmed that an employee urinated on a production line at a facility in Virginia.
Smithfield Foods confirmed that an employee urinated on a production line at a facility in Virginia. ASSOCIATED PRESS

A video appears to show a worker at a Smithfield Foods plant in Virginia urinating on a production line, according to WAVY. The company confirmed for the station that an employee has been suspended as they investigate, but noted it was an “isolated incident.”

Someone gave a video of the incident to WAVY, which describes what happens: an employee “appears to take off his gloves and pee on the production line.”

Smithfield confirmed the incident to television station WTKR and said the company threw out 50,000 pounds of meat after a preliminary investigation.

Smithfield operates a number of meat processing plants around the country, including the world’s largest pork processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, according to the Farm Journal.

Smithfield spokeswoman Lisa Martin told the Virginian-Pilot that the company suspended the employee.

In a statement, Martin told the newspaper, “The facility immediately halted production, fully cleaned the processing line, and sanitized all equipment multiple times before resuming operations.”

“In accordance with Smithfield’s food safety and quality standards, more than 50,000 pounds of product were disposed of following a swift internal investigation that revealed an employee had urinated at his station during the production process,” Martin initially told WAVY. An updated statement sent later from Smithfield to local news outlets said “an employee had allegedly urinated at his station.”

Smithfield Foods has its headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia, along with a meat packing plant and a separate plant for dog food, according to the company.

The Smithfield, Virginia plant has more than 2,500 employees and produces bacon, sausage, pork and smoked meats, the company notes on its website.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect the discrepancy between the initial statement provided by Smithfield and the subsequent statement.

Charles Duncan: 843-712-5297, @duncanreporting

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