Food Shortages and Food Processing Plant Fires – What’s Going On?

  • by:
  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

Though rarely reported by mainstream news, there have been an unusual number of significant fires in food processing facilities around the country this year and even going back into last year. The fires are starting to give rise to noteworthy chatter online, especially as the Biden administration—whose policies largely support the 'great reset' agenda pushed by the World Economic Forum and the World Health Organization—warns us about food shortages.

Interestingly, the fires caught the attention of Tucker Carlson of Fox News, who discussed several of the blazes last night. Speaking of a plane that crashed at a General Mills plant in Georgia yesterday, here's part of what Carlson had to say:

"This is the second time in a week something like this has happened. On April 14th, a plane crashed into the Gem State Processing potato facility in Eastern Idaho. What's going on here?

Well, the story gets weirder. Food processing plants all over the country seem to be catching fire. A couple of days ago, a fire destroyed the headquarters of Azure Standard—one of the largest organic food distributors in the country. At the end of last month, a fire severely damaged a fresh onion packing facility in South Texas. In Oregon and a potato chip processing plant had a boiler explosion that sent workers to the hospital.

So industrial accidents happen, of course, but this is a lot of industrial accidents at food processing facilities happening at the same time the President is warning us about food shortages. They're getting hit by planes and catching fire. What is going on here, exactly?"

Screenshot / The Land Report

UncoverDC confirmed over two dozen facilities linked to our food supply were impacted by fires, 19 of them happening this year. There could be more. While there has been no concrete evidence that any of the fires are connected or were intentionally set, we felt it relevant to list them, especially since Bill Gates is the largest owner of farmland in the United States. Here they are, with a brief description of what we found out about each one.

April 21, 2022, General Mills Plant, Covington, GA; Two people died after a plane crashed into an empty lot at a General Mills plant in Covington, GA, used to store tractor-trailers. Witnesses believe the aircraft had trouble gaining altitude when it suddenly veered right and immediately came down into the lot. The plane appeared to explode upon impact, catching several empty trailers on fire due to the crash. The police captain said that many lives were saved because the plane did not directly crash into the plant, as it crashed about 300 feet away from the plant. The NTSB is investigating the crash. 

April 18, 2022, Azure Standard, Dufur, OR; The headquarters of Azure Standard, a premier independent distributor of organic and healthy food, was destroyed by fire. There were no injuries. The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation. Local news reported that records from the local Sheriff's log stated, "Lights flickered; They heard a pop and went up there to check it out, and there was a fire." According to founder and CEO David Stelzer, the loss of the facility and the impact on companywide operations are being assessed and expected to be limited and temporary. No other Azure Standard facilities were affected. 


April 13, 2022, Gem State Processing, Heyburn, ID; An experienced UPS pilot's plane crashed into the roof of the potato and food processing plant, killing the pilot instantly. The facility sources 18,000 acres of Idaho potatoes. The distraught father of pilot Brittney Infanger, 30, said his daughter knew the area well and often flew into the airport near the plant. He added, "There's a 60-foot chimney sticking out of the food processing plant—no lights on it, dead center—straight across the runway. So whenever you come in, you have to fly over the top of this and drop down. The airport needs to be closed, period." 

April 13, 2022, Taylor Farms, Salinas, CA; Reports say the fire started in a wall and spread rapidly to the attic at the 225,000 processing plant, a major producer of fruits and vegetables. More than 100 firefighters were needed to contain the blaze as there were concerns of an ammonia explosion at the plant. It is believed the plant stored 40,000 gallons of ammonia. For over 27 years, Taylor Farms, with nearly 22,000 employees, has built a network of 20 facilities across America. As the company navigates rebuilding the Salinas plant, they are currently moving into another space in Salinas. They are grateful that their Yuma, AZ plant is fully operational. 


April 11, 2022, East Conway Beef & Pork, Conway, N.H.; A massive fire destroyed the butcher shop and meat market. Neighbors helped to corral cattle freed when the fire broke out. Investigators from the NH Fire Marshal's Office are still trying to figure out how the fire started. The same facility burned ten years ago. 

March 31, 2022, Rio Fresh Inc., San Juan, TX; The third-generation family farming operation grows, packs, and ships many Texas-grown items, including Texas 1015 sweet onions and cabbage, kale, melons, and greens. The "massive fire" overtook the company's 100,000 square foot new fresh onion packing facility, considered the state's largest. The cause of the structure fire is still under investigation. 

March 28, 2022, Maricopa, AZ Food Pantry; A reported 50,000 pounds of food were destroyed after a fire engulfed the food bank just 15 minutes after it had closed. The twenty-year-old food pantry has provided weekly meals for nearly 1,200 families. The organization plans to replace the trailers with a warehouse that will also serve as a soup kitchen to feed the hungry. Thunderbird Fire Chief Alan Allcott said he is not sure of the cause, noting there are indications that an animal under one of the trailers may have chewed and shorted out some of the wires, causing the blaze. 

March 24, 2022, Penobscot McCrum Potato Processing Facility, Belfast, Maine; The massive fire, which is reported to have started in one of the fryolator machines, caused smoke so thick that active flames weren't visible. The McCrum family plants, grows, cares for, harvests, stores, ships, and processes potatoes. The family is still determining the next steps for the factory and how to support its employees. 


March 16, 2022, Walmart Distribution Center, Plainfield, IN; Smoke from the large fire in the 1.2 million sq. ft. warehouse was visible for several miles. In addition to food, the warehouse contained various items set for distribution, including clothing, electronics, and shipping materials. Thirty agencies responded to assist the Plainfield Fire Department in putting out the fire, with crews working in 4-6 hour shifts each to stay fresh while fighting the blaze. The investigation into the cause of the fire involved the AFT, who reported that the investigation into the cause of the fire could take weeks or months. 

March 16, 2022, Nestlé Jonesboro plant, Jonesboro, AK; A fire with an explosion caused extensive damage to the new production line at the Nestlé Jonesboro plant, which produces frozen foods for the Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine, Digiorno, Tombstone, Hot Pockets, and Sweet Earth brands. None of the company's 800 employees were injured, and the facility remains closed to assess the damages and determine the cause of the fire. Ryan White, an employee for Nestle, said he is counting his blessings after being released from his 12-hour shift at the production line six hours early. He said, "If we would've stayed, we would've been right in the line of that fire." Local news reports said the facility—opened in 2002—suffered "significant damage" to a new Hot Pockets production line added in 2021 in a $100 million investment.


March 14, 2022, Wayne Hoover dairy farm; Longswamp Township, PA; More than 20 fire companies responded to the massive fire at the Berks County farm, which was destroyed by the blaze. The 42 cows in the barn all managed to get out safely, but sadly one cow died of stress in transport to another farm. The state fire marshal ruled the barn fire an accident, saying it appears to have started due to electrical activity. 

February 28, 2022, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Sunnyside, WA; A tremendous commercial structure fire at the fertilizer facility started from smoldering sulfur, according to reports. An 18,000 sq ft. storage building at the plant was destroyed by the fire, and no one was injured. More than 1.7 million pounds of sulfur burned—though fire officials were more concerned with the hazardous ammonium sulfate. Authorities say 236,000 lbs of the substance, considered the most dangerous chemical in the plant, burned early into the blaze. The fire occurred shortly after a load of sulfur was deposited in the building. Sunnyside fire chief said the fire department believes the fire was mechanical, but there isn't a way to know for sure because the fire damaged the machinery used to unload the sulfur. The facility is back in operation except for the dry fertilizer shed and the liquid fertilizer load-out area. 

February 28, 2022, Shadow Brook Farm and Dutch Girl Creamery; Lincoln, NE; The 4:30 fire gutted the $200,000 facility and landed one of the owners in the hospital. According to the State Fire Marshall, the fire was accidental and electrical in nature. The farm owners are determined to reopen their cheese facility, which lost $80,000 worth of cheese and $8,000 of seeds in the blaze. 

February 22, 2022, Shearer's Foods, Hermiston, OR; a massive explosion and fire destroyed the potato chip plant. Two weeks after the fire, the company had laid off all of its nearly 250 employees. The company is exploring its options, noting that it will take at least 15-18 months to rebuild to the point of resuming production. The fire is believed to have been caused by the explosion of a portable natural gas-powered boiler. 


February 19, 2022, Lincoln Premium Poultry, Fremont, NE; Three people were injured and one hospitalized after an ammonia leak at the plant, which supplied Costco with chicken products. The Fremont Fire Department reported the leak began around 7:45 pm and "occurred due to a contractor working on a project." 

February 18, 2022, Bess View Farm, St. Albans, VT; The fire, believed to have begun around 2 am in the milking parlor, destroyed a barn and displaced nearly 800 cows. Thankfully, no one, including the animals, was injured due to the fire. Within hours, farmers in the surrounding area and throughout the state stepped in to support the owners and take care of the cows. It is unclear what caused the fire if it started in the milking parlor. 

February 16, 2022, Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), Claypool, IN; A fire broke out at the largest soybean and biodiesel processing plant in the United States, doing an "undetermined" amount of damage. Reuters reported that "the suspension of deliveries could slow production of soymeal and biodiesel at a time of high demand," adding, "Maintenance shutdowns at plants in Iowa and Minnesota in recent months have contributed to soaring prices for the animal feed and biofuel." The facility, upgraded in 2020 to add two new storage barns that each hold up to 3 million bushels, is back open, and the cause of the fire remains undisclosed. 


February 3, 2022, Percy Dairy Farm, Stowe, VT; The 911 call for the fire came in around 11:30 pm. It took nine fire departments over six hours to fully knock the fire down. Over 100 cows were killed in the blaze. The cause of the fire has not been disclosed. Owner Paul Percy, who was away on a fishing trip when it happened, said he has insurance to cover the cows but has no place to put them at the moment. He is waiting on the insurance adjuster, noting they will "probably rebuild something somewhere."  

January 31, 2022, Fertilizer Plant, Winston Salem, NC; About 6,500 people were under evacuation orders for three days after a fire broke out at a North Carolina fertilizer plant, which officials said risked becoming one of the biggest explosions ever to occur in the US. Ammonium nitrate is apparently to blame, with the environmental group Earthjustice calling the disaster "entirely preventable" had the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strengthened federal regulation.

January 13, 2022, Cargill-Nutrena feed mill, Lecompte, LA; A fire started in the early hours of the morning and burned for over 12 hours. An explosion occurred as firefighters were working the fire. The 140,000-ton mill manufactures feed for pet food, aquaculture, equine, beef, poultry, dairy, and wild game industries. The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation. 

December 12, 2021, West Side food processing plant, San Antonio, TX; An unnamed food processing plant suffered over $100,000 in damages to food supplies resulting from a cooler that caught on fire. The cause of the fire is currently unknown. 

November 29, 2021, Maid-Rite Steak Co. Inc., Scott Township, PA; The cause of the fire, which damaged much of the meat processing area, was ruled an accident. Maid-Rite Specialty Foods has become one of the largest independent producers of USDA inspected frozen meats in the United States. Authorities stated they think the fire started in a wall. The company's human resources director says the building was evacuated after the fire broke out, and everyone was accounted for. Scott Township Fire Chief Matt Pritchyk says a nearby pump did not work, so he called in tanker trucks to retrieve water from a nearby pond.

November 15, 2021, Garrard County Food Pantry in Lancaster, KY; Result of arson with a 100% loss. 60-year-old Debra Smalling was charged with setting the fire by throwing a lit cigarette into a pile of papers that she was seen rummaging through. Court documents stated she admitted throwing a lit cigarette butt into that pile. The pantry supplied over a million pounds of food to hundreds for years. The community rallied together, and the pantry is now operating out of a new home

August 23, 2021, Patak Meat Products, Austell, GA; Located in Cobb County, the family-owned company specializes in fine European meats in sausages with customers spread across the country. The fire broke out in the center of the building, causing severe damage. According to a fire department spokesman, the fire was under investigation, "with no foul play suspected." The business is still rebuilding and is not yet reopened, but its online store offers products in the meantime. While devastating, the company has decided to implement significant upgrades to machinery and technology as they rebuild. 

July 30, 2021, Tyson River Valley Ingredients Plant, Hanceville, AL; The 121,000 sq. foot plant serviced poultry processors in AL and neighboring states by breaking down and cooking leftover chicken parts into proteins and fats for animal feed and pet food. The plant suffered a total loss. The cause of the fire remains unclear. Tyson recently announced its plans to replace the plant with a new $208 million facility adjacent to the one that burned down and plans to retain all 124 employees throughout the construction period. The new plant is set to be operational in mid-2023.

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