EYE ON OPERATIONS

Maple Leaf Foods Inc ., Toronto, said it will close a prepared meats facility located in Surrey, British Columbia, on September 30, 2011. The Surrey facility employs about 155 people. It processes ham, sliced meats, sausage and deli products for retail and foodservice customers in Western Canada. Maple Leaf said it will gradually wind-down operations starting in May 2011 and will close the facility at the end of September. Production will be consolidated at Maple Leaf's prepared meats facilities in Saskatoon, Manitoba and Ontario where there is available capacity, after completing some modest upgrades.

"The closure of the Surrey plant is an important step towards consolidating our manufacturing at fewer, dedicated scale plants, resulting in reduced supply chain costs and better efficiencies," said Rick Young, executive vice president, Consumer Foods. "While necessary, we regret the impact on our skilled and dedicated employees. We will recognize their service and will support their transition to new employment."

TheArkansas Democrat-Gazette reported thatTyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Ark., will spend $1 million to expand deboning activities at its Berryville and Green Forest, Ark., plants. The paper noted thatPilgrim’s Pride Corp., Greeley, Colo., also is expanding deboning operations and adding 250 people in its chicken plant in Nacogdoches, Texas.

TheArkansas Democrat-Gazettereported thatPetit Jean Poultry Inc., Danville, Ark., plans April 1 to close its last remaining plant, a deboning facility in Arkadelphia, Ark. The plant employs about 385 people and had been working under contract for Tyson Foods. Company officials said Tyson notified them in November that it would not renew the arrangement.

The Times Reporter, New Philadelphia, Ohio, reported thatGuggisberg Cheese, Millersburg, Ohio, is plans a 37,000-square-foot expansion at its Sugarcreek, Ohio, plant. Marketing Director Ryan Ramsey told the newspaper the addition will include a large prepack cooler, product finishing and packing room, dry storage space, case and pallet storage and a new employee break room. The Sugarcreek plant reportedly produces Swiss cheese and baby Swiss, along with other cheeses sold in loaf form.