Following an initial assessment of damages in the wake of Hurricane Irene, Smithfield, Va.-based Smithfield Foods, Inc. said today that employees will be returning back to work at its meat processing facilities and farms in North Carolina and Virginia. The company's headquarters offices are also fully operational.
Elsewhere, the company reported minor structural damage to some barns belonging to contract farmers in North Carolina and Virginia, but thanks to onsite emergency generators, all animals are continuing to receive regular food and water. In addition, Smithfield said that all of its environmental pollution-control systems are still in good working order.
"I am happy and greatly relieved to report that all of our employees are safe," said C. Larry Pope, Smithfield's president and CEO. He added, "I also want to thank our employees at our farms and plants for the outstanding job they did in minimizing damage from the hurricane. They followed our emergency preparedness plans and observed safety precautions, and it really paid off."