A security video camera caught the worker, who was busy on the production line at the company’s Smithfield, Virginia pork processing plant, apparently taking a restroom break—possibly on the food and machinery where he worked.
In the video, the worker can be seen looking up the line, as if to see who might be watching him.
Satisfied that no one is paying attention, the worker then peels off his gloves.
The precise details of what happens next are not known, because of poor video resolution.
It appears that the worker unzips his pants and leans over the production line—he is partially out of sight at this point in the video.
After several seconds the worker stands upright, apparently fastens his pants, dons his gloves and goes back to work.
While the exact events of the incident are yet to be announced, the assumption based on the video and the company’s response is that the employee relieved himself on the production line, possibly contaminating either the food meant for consumers or the machinery that processed that food.
Taking No Chances With Health and Safety
The plant management is conducting an investigation. The worker is on leave until Smithfield Foods has all the facts.
In the meantime, the meat-processing giant is taking no chances.
Smithfield Foods spokeswoman Lisa Martin told CBS News, “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.”
“The facility immediately halted production, fully cleaned the processing line, and sanitized all equipment multiple times before resuming operations.”
Martin added, “The facility and its employees’ immediate response and corrective actions to this isolated incident reflect the company’s commitment to ensuring the safety and quality of its products. The safety and quality of our foods is fundamental to our success as a company.”
Smithfield Foods produces a wide range of processed meat products, under such well-known brands such as Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and Armour meats.