Eighteen months ago, US meat giant ConAgra Foods, currently at the centre of a scandal concerning an E.coli outbreak, sent word that it would end its contract for poultry de-boning operations in Milan, a north-central city in Missouri, erasing more than 500 jobs from a community of about 2,000 residents.
A report from the Associated Press writes how tensions increased as the food giant kept pushing back the shutdown date and how the waiting is now over.
ConAgra, whose products include Butterball turkeys, Banquet TV dinners and Hunt's ketchup, said it would formally end its contract and leave Milan before Thanksgiving (November), with large layoffs starting in September.
According to the report, the loss would not only be devastating to the local economy but it would mark the end of a way of life in Milan. The plant has been a dependable income source for more than 70 years in Milan, with generation after generation working on the plant's processing lines.
ConAgra spokesman Bob McKeon said last week that the work done at Milan was being moved "nearer to where the chicken is sourced and initially processed."