Smithfield Foods, the giant US meat processor, is to close a small production facility in Norfolk, Virginia, by the end of the year, laying off some 160 workers.
The company said it was closing the plant - which produces backfat and smoked pork chops - in order to merge operations with other existing facilities in a drive to improve efficiency. The majority of the work from the Norfolk plant will pass to the company's huge bacon, sausage, ham and smoked meat plant in Smithfield.
Workers will begin to be let go from the start of July, according to the company, with the entire operation phased out by November. Staff from the Norfolk site will be able to apply for transfer to the Smithfield factory, and most of the workers should be accommodated at the larger site.
The Norfolk facility opened in 1980 and is operated under the Smithfield Packing Co. division, the original Smithfield Foods business which was launched in 1936.