Who did? What is happening in 2022 when so many food production facilities are burning?
These Are the 20+ Food Facilities That Have Burned in 2022
These Are the Food Facilities (And Counting) That Have Burned in 2022
Every year, a small percentage of food facilities are destroyed in industrial accidents.
But 2022 has been ESPECIALLY ACTIVE, with over 20 fires at food facilities so far—a much higher figure than average.
It’s gotten a lot of people wondering—including some of the country’s largest media outlets—what the heck is going on?
The answer is… we do not know—at least not yet. But these disruptions to our food supply chain during already historic supply shortages will only make the inflation of food prices worse.
To help you stay informed and prepared, here are the food facilities that have been hit so far this year:
1. Van Drunen Farms Tuthill Facility, Momence, IL [Jan. 2]
Seven percent of the 80,000-square-foot Van Drunen Farms freeze-drying facility in Momence, Illinois was burned and declared a “total loss.” The fire started at 6 a.m. and no employees were on site. Van Drunen has plants all over the country, but this is their largest—their “main” facility.
2. Cargill-Nutrena Feed Mill, Lecompte, LA [Jan. 13]
A fire was reported at around 4 a.m. at the 140,000-ton Cargill-Nutrena livestock and pet-feed mill in Lecompte, Louisiana. A building on the property burned for 12 hours and caused no injuries. The fire was blamed on an explosion.
3. Oregon Potato Company, Warden, WA [Jan. 22]
An explosion attributed to a faulty boiler destroyed the Oregon Potato Company plant in Warden, Washington. This plant supplies corn and potato chips to much of the Western US. This fire occurred around noon. Employees called 9-1-1. Seven employees checked into a nearby hospital. No serious injuries were reported. The blaze was the largest the Umatilla County fire district had seen in a decade.
4. Winston Weaver Company, Winston-Salem, NC [Jan. 31]
At around 7 p.m. on January 31, 150 firefighters were called to a massive fire at the Winston Weaver Company fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The blaze was so large that it was allowed to burn. Everyone within a 1-mile radius of the plant was ordered to evacuate for fear that the 5,000 tons of finished fertilizer and 600 tons of ammonium nitrate present in the plant would explode. No injuries or deaths were reported—an especially fortunate outcome considering that just a few years earlier, a very similar type of fire at a Weaver Company facility killed 15 people.
5. Wisconsin River Meats, Mauston, WI [Feb. 3]
An overnight fire destroyed nearly the entire infrastructure of the Wisconsin River Meats manufacturing plant in Mauston, Wisconsin. Most of the plant was considered a total loss. No livestock or employees were injured. Without a facility, co-owner David Mauer says the company will have to rebuild.
6. Louis Dreyfus Company, Claypool, IN [Feb. 16]
Around 8 p.m., a baghouse used for filtering dust caught fire at the country’s largest soy-processing plant. No employees were injured. At the time of the fire, experts worried that the disruption would slow the production of soybean meal in the US.
7. Bess View Farm, St. Albans, VT [Feb 18]
In the early morning of Friday, February 18, a fire devastated the milk parlor at Bess View Farm. Dairy cows had to be transported to facilities in the surrounding areas for care, interrupting Bess View operations. No injuries were reported.
8. Shearer’s Foods, Hermiston, OR [Feb. 22]
A Shearer’s Foods manufacturing plant (specializing in salty snacks, cookies, and crackers) was set ablaze after a boiler exploded, injuring a handful of the over 230 employees of the facility. Former plant safety manager Stephen Dean expressed surprise that no one died, given the extent of the damage. The building will take 15 to 18 months to rebuild.
9. Nutrien Ag Solution, Sunnyside, WA [Feb. 28]
A fire at the Nutrien Ag Solution facility in Sunnyside, Washington was reported at around noon on Monday, February 28. An evacuation order was issued to all buildings located within a half-mile radius of the facility. The fire burned through 1.7 million pounds of sulfur used for fertilizer. No one was injured in the blaze.
10. Nestle Frozen Foods, Jonesboro, AR [Mar. 16]
A fire that took 24 hours to extinguish broke out in a production cooler at the Nestle plant in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The blaze started at 4:30 p.m. None of the 800 plant employees were injured in the fire. The plant produces frozen foods for the Nestle’s Hot Pocket, Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine, DiGiorno, and Tombstone brands. The plant was shut down for an extended period, significantly delaying food production.
11. Wayne Hoover Farm, Longswamp Township, PA [Mar 13]
Fire erupted at around 5 p.m. at the Wayne Hoover dairy farm in Longswamp Township, Pennsylvania. Animals were transported for care to nearby farms and facilities. A total of 42 cows were displaced, significantly disrupting farm operations. No injuries were reported.
12. Plainfield Walmart Fulfillment Center, Avon, IN [Mar. 16]
A 1.2-million-square-foot Walmart Fulfillment Center (the size of 20 football fields) burned for multiple days in Avon, Indiana—350 fire fighters and 30 fire agencies fought the blaze, which consumed massive stocks of food bound for locations all over the country. According to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, the loss put a “strain” on the company’s supply chain system. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still investigating the fire’s cause, months later.
13. Penobscot McCrum Potato Processing, Belfast, ME [Mar. 24]
A plant that produces specialty frozen potato products caught fire at 3 a.m. in Belfast, Maine, according to local officials. It is believed that the fire was started in one of the facility’s large “fryolator” machines. Witnesses reported that the building on fire was the administrative office. No employees were injured.
14. Maricopa Food Pantry, Maricopa, AZ [Mar 28]
A sudden fire broke out at the Maricopa Food Pantry in Maricopa, Arizona. The blaze spread quickly, stoked by trailers full of refrigeration fuel. 50,000 pounds of food were lost, which will have a detrimental effect on a community which one resident described as not having “many food banks.” No one was hurt in the fire.
15. Rio Fresh, San Juan, TX [Mar. 31]
An enormous fire overtook an onion-packing facility in San Juan, Texas. These key facilities are part of the largest onion-packing operation in southern Texas. No injuries were reported.
16. East Conway Beef and Pork, Center Conway, NH [Apr. 11]
On the evening of Monday, April 11, a coalition of first responders in Center Conway, New Hampshire, were called to a massive fire at East Conway Beef and Pork. Despite 16 hours at the scene, the building burned down to the foundation. Neighbors helped save cattle living at the facility. No one was reported injured.
17. Gem State Processing Plant, Heyburn, ID [Apr. 13]
At approximately 8 a.m., a single-engine plane registered with Spirit Air crashed into the Gem State Processing Plant in Heyburn, Idaho. The pilot was flying solo and was killed in the crash. No other injuries were reported. Gem State Processing Plant sources 18,000 acres of Idaho potatoes.
18. Taylor Farms, Salinas, CA [Apr. 13]
On the evening of April 13, just after 7 p.m., a 4-alarm fire was reported at the Taylor Farms processing facility in Salinas, California. The facility is a food service production and distribution operation for wholesale salads and shredded lettuce. Because of the threat of combustion from 35,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on site, fire officials evacuated the nearby area. The facility was a total loss. Taylor Farms plans to rebuild and reopen the site by spring 2023. No injuries were reported.
19. Azure Standard, Dufur, OR [Apr. 19]
Organic food distributor Azure Standard lost its headquarters to a fire on April 19. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Azure Standard CEO David Stelzer stated that the headquarters was a total loss and that the company would have to make adjustments to operations and rebuild. No one was injured in the fire.
20. Nutrien Ag Solution, Leoti, KS [Apr. 19]
For at least the second time in 2022, a Nutrien Ag fertilizer plant caught fire, this time in the small Kansas town of Leoti. The fire broke out at 3:30 p.m. and residents within a half-mile radius of the plant were evacuated. Fire responders reported that the flames were “isolated to a forklift and non-hazardous chemicals.” No injuries were reported.
21. General Mills, Covington, GA [Apr. 21]
A twin-engine Cessna crashed into a General Mills plant in Covington, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. The plane came to rest in a remote section of the plant’s property where empty trailers are stored. According to police, the plane exploded on impact; a small series of explosions followed the crash as well. Two passengers were killed in the crash.
22. Perdue Farms, Chesapeake, VA [Apr. 30]
Fire broke out at a Perdue Farms grain processing and storage facility in Virginia around 8 p.m. The blaze was centered around a soybean-processing tank. The fire was contained within an hour. The fire had minimum impact on operations. No injuries were reported.
23. Rail Car Derailment, Ft. Macleod, Alberta, Canada [May 22]
The derailment of a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train in southern Alberta resulted in the loss of 43 rail cars containing potash, a vital fertilizer ingredient. Some of the cargo was recovered. No injuries were reported. The cause of the derailment is still being investigated.
24. Forsman Farms, Stockholm Township, MN [May 28]
A massive fire in a small Minnesota township, about an hour west of Minneapolis, killed 200,000 chickens. The fire started around 10 p.m. on May 28 at Forsman Farms. A barn housing many thousands of chickens was burned to the ground. Forsman Farms is one of the largest egg producers in the country and sells more than 3 million eggs a day. The cause of the blaze is being investigated. No injuries were reported.
25. JBS Foods, Green Bay, WI [June 7]
Firefighters responded quickly to a blaze at a JBS Foods meat packing plant in Green Bay, on the evening of June 7. A small fire inside the plant’s meat processing area was controlled within 15 minutes, saving the entire facility. The fire is being blamed on heat from an auger in the processing area. No injuries were reported.