Rich Jochum, corporate administrator for the South Dakota-based company, told Reuters that the temporary closure could become "a permanent suspension."
"This is a direct reaction to all the misinformation about our lean beef," Jochum told Reuters. The company shut down operations on Monday at its plants in Amarillo, Texas; Finney County, Kansas; and Waterloo, Iowa, according to the Reuters report. Altogether, the plants employ 650 people. The company's facilities in Iowa and Kansas produce approximately 350,000 pounds of product a day, while the Texas plant puts out nearly 200,000 pounds.
The closures are because of the recent outcry by food activists over its lean finely textured beef, Jochum said.
Although the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and industry experts have continually said the meat was safe, the backlash brought about by wild claims in the consumer media, the continued spread of misinformation and the heated criticisms from those opposed to the use of the finely textured lean beef product caused some supermarket chains to stop using the product.