UPDATE: Smithfield statement on closing of Clayton facility

CLAYTON, N.C. (AP) Smithfield Foods has released the following statement about the closure of its meat distribution center in Clayton resulting in the laying off about 100 employees.

"Committed to meeting evolving customer needs, Smithfield Foods, Inc. has been exploring ways to optimize its national distribution footprint. As part of these efforts, Smithfield is expanding
and relocating its Clayton, North Carolina distribution center to its Tar Heel, North Carolina facility to better serve its customers."

"Smithfield has invested $100 million to build and operate this new facility in addition to creating approximately 250 new jobs for the state of North Carolina. This decision will result in the closure of Smithfield’s current distribution center in Clayton, impacting 102 salaried and hourly employees. While these necessary changes are difficult, we at Smithfield are committed to supporting Clayton facility employees through this transition by providing opportunities
to apply for positions at the new Tar Heel location as well as other operations throughout the company."

Smithfield says the transition is anticipated to begin October 7.

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Smithfield Foods is closing a North Carolina meat distribution center and laying off about 100 employees.

The state Commerce Department posted a notice Wednesday in which Smithfield Foods said it will close the operation in the Johnston County town of Clayton by the end of next month.

Most of the workers being laid off are warehouse operators and supervisors.

Smithfield Foods' extensive pork-raising operations in North Carolina have made news this summer. The world's largest pork processor has lost three federal lawsuits and jurors decided it should pay more than $500 million in damages to neighbors who complained of intense nuisances from odors, flies and rumbling trucks at industrial-scale hog operations.