The frequency of fires that have ravaged food processing plants and factories in recent years is cause for major consumer concern.
These incidents further exacerbate the fragility of our supply chain and contribute to higher prices for consumers. Below is a list of North American plant and factory disasters that have occurred so far in 2023.
- Tyson Foods Hog Plant, Madison, Nebraska [April 24, 2023]: The cause of the blaze, which the city's volunteer firefighters and multiple fire departments battled, remains unknown. The plant normally processes 8,250 hogs per day and has around 1,200 employees.
- Red River Commodities, 2 Fires, Fargo, North Dakota [April 12, 2023]: Firefighters first responded to a fire in the oven before rushing back an hour later to douse flames coming from a chimney. This plant processes sunflower seeds and other crops into food ingredients and products.
- South Fork Dairy Explosion, Dimmitt, Texas [April 10, 2023]: An explosion and fire destroyed South Fork Dairy farm in the Texas Panhandle, killing 18,000 cows in the deadliest such incident in almost a decade.
- Basic American Foods Processing Plant Fire, Moses Lake, Washington [March 29, 2023]: This plant suffered significant damage in March, and it took firefighters hours to gain control of the fire.
- Pickle Factory Fire, New Jersey [March 25, 2023]: A three-alarm fire destroyed Pickle King, a gherkin producer, and posed a threat to nearby schools.
- Chocolate Factory Fire, West Reading, Pennsylvania [March 24, 2023]: Seven people lost their lives and several others were injured in an explosion at the RM Palmer Company chocolate factory, which also caused damage to adjacent buildings.
- Ruiz Foods Plant, Dinuba, California [February 23, 2023]: A fire at the Ruiz Foods Plant, which manufactures frozen Mexican food sold in grocery stores, is thought to have started in the building's air system.
- Giffords Manufacturing Plant, Skowhegan, Maine [February 21, 2023]: A fire damaged Gifford's manufacturing plant because of a heat gun left on top of a pallet of combustible material. This has disrupted ice cream production.
- Olymel Hog Operation Fire, Saskatchewan, Canada [February 15, 2023]: A fire at the Olymel hog operation in the Kopje Finishing Unit claimed the lives of 10,000 hogs, and firefighters were unable to access the scene. The company suffered losses between $4 and $8 million.
- W.E. Acres Crabmeal Seafood Processing Plant, New Brunswick, Canada [February 3, 2023]: W.E. Acres Crabmeal suffered a catastrophic fire on February 3, 2023. Along with producing fishmeal, they also made fertilizer. According to sources, seafood processing plant fires have occurred frequently in the area in recent years.
- Dehydration and Processing Pet Food Plant Fire, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin [January 31, 2023]: Firefighters needed multiple crews to help contain the fire at the Wisconsin Dehydration and Processing pet food plant after food became trapped inside one of the dryers.
- Pet Food Processing Facility Fire, Anchorage, Alaska [January 20, 2023]: A two-alarm fire damaged a pet food warehouse in Anchorage, where Purr-Ferred Pet Food LLC operates a facility that provides fresh, ground, frozen salmon and other fish.
- Hillandale Farms Fire, Bozrah, Connecticut [January 20, 2023]: In January 2023, a fire broke out at Hillandale Farms, a Connecticut egg farm, resulting in the death of around 100,000 hens.
Why are there so many fires? Is our food supply under attack? And if so, by whom? One cannot help but wonder...