If you had to read Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The jungle in high school, you would know how notorious the meatpacking industry was in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, few paid similar attention to the plight of the immigrant communities who worked in early meatpacking plants. But as should be clear from lingering on the tech beat, technology changes, but history often can to repeat even (in both cases).
Plant-based meat products maker Beyond Meat was hit by several revelations earlier in the week about its ongoing financial woes Bloomberg came out Monday with a report that the company’s Pennsylvania plant was experiencing major mold and bacteria problems. That expenditure have been present for a few years according to leaked internal documents. Bloomberg reported, based on photos and documents provided by a former employee, that mold appears to be growing on containers, crates and walls at the factory.
Beyond meat bought the co-packer facility in 2020 by one of its former co-manufacturing partners Devault Foods, who apparently brought former Devault employees into Beyond Meat wrinkles. It was a move by founder and CEO Ethan Brown said investors would help them process their current alternative meat products and even launch new products.
DDocuments provided to Bloomberg reportedly show that 11 out of 56 product tests from June 2021 to June 2022 contained Listeria, a harmful bacteria that can be contained in meat products. The newer A sample of Listeria was discovered in May this year, and two other unnamed former employees confirmed the bacterial product infections to Bloomberg. Listeria should be destroyed when eating is cooked, acc The Food and Drug Administrationalthough eating raw foods with Listeria can lead to food poisoning.
Documents also reportedly indicate that between August 2020 and June 2021 there were multiple instances of cross-contamination with products, expired use-by dates, and third-party products found in Beyond Meat products such as plastic, string, or wood. Beyond Meat’s reportedly noted that debris was last found in their products in December of last year.
Of course, those were the cases the company pursued. In April this year Costco in Canada is recalling Beyond Meat Burgers when they found pieces of wood wrapped in the imitation Meat. Gizmodo was unable to verify which Beyond Meat factories supply Canadian Costcos.
Gizmodo could do that too not independently verify the photos or documents. A spokesman for Beyond Meats told Gizmodo:
“Our food safety and product quality management protocols are rigorous and go beyond industry and regulatory standards. The most recent inspections of the facility by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (in March and September 2022) found no instances of non-compliance and we remain in good standing with the Department. In addition, audits conducted by accredited external auditors, most recently in May 2022, have given the plant the highest possible rating for each of the past three years.”
However, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture did Gizmodo said the department last visited the plant in September to get the company to pay the $35 annual registration (read this report here). The spokesman also mentioned that the agency conducted a “limited inspection” after Bloomberg reporters contacted them about the $35 registration. We will update the story if the DOA can provide more details on investigations into the facility after November 17th.
Although plant-based meat seemed to be all the rageIn the early years of the pandemic, Beyond Meat has seen a recent downturn. The enterprise Cut 19% of its global workforce, approximately 200 employees after experiencing humiliating gains year after year. Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the company’s reduced outlook is indicative of the overall plant-based meat industry. The Journal notably pointed out that some former senior employees had conflicts with CEO Brown, particularly over his focus on growth at the expense of knowing how to actually make the product. researchers at Deloitte Earlier this year it was noticed that the number of people buying plant-based meat alternatives has practically not increased.
The facility is located in Charleston Township approximately 45 minutes away from Philly and according to the minutes of the public meetings from 2021, Local residents have complained about odors and noise from the facility. The company continued to ponder expansion plans but these designs are on hold due to the company poor financial outlook according to Bloomberg’s report.
Beyond Meat has other factories including one in Chinaas well as a R&D center in El Segundo, California. The company manufactures its products in Columbia, Missouri, before shipping to its co-manufacturing and packaging facilities, such as those in Pennsylvania.