JBS USA

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

Earlier this week a civil lawsuit was filed against JBS USA and two officials at their meatpacking plant in Greeley. The suit alleges that a former employee, 37-year-old Kacem Andalib, faced racial and religious discrimination from his coworkers and that the company failed to intervene or prevent it.

It has been a rough few months for the world’s largest meat company.

Known for its rapid expansion across the globe, Brazil-based meatpacking giant JBS has been embroiled in scandal for much of 2017. The company is so large it is difficult to avoid for those who eat meat. As of 2014, JBS’s U.S. subsidiary held a 22 percent market-share in U.S. beef processing and an 18 percent market-share in poultry processing.

Courtesy Colorado State University

Colorado State University’s campus in Fort Collins will soon be home to a livestock slaughter and teaching facility paid for by JBS USA, a Greeley-based meatpacker.

The building -- called the JBS Global Food Innovation Center -- will house the university’s meat science program, complete with cattle and poultry processing, a multi-level auditorium and a cafe. Part of the funding will come from a $12.5 million dollar gift from JBS to support its construction and ongoing educational programs.

Colorado-Based Meat Industry Giant JBS To Go Public

Dec 6, 2016
Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

JBS USA, a major Northern Colorado employer and big player in the country’s agricultural economy, is going public.

Its Brazilian parent company, JBS SA, spun off a new entity for its foreign holdings called JBS Foods International, based in the Netherlands. JBS announced on Dec. 5 that it’s planning on selling shares of the new Dutch company on the New York Stock Exchange in the first half of 2017.

Officials at JBS have yet to disclose how large a stake of the company will be sold.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

The nights were often worse for Gabriel, even after long days working on the production line at a pork slaughterhouse in Nebraska. He had nightmares that the line – what the workers call “the chain” – was moving so fast, instead of gutted hogs flying by, there were people.

“You’ve been working there for three hours, four hours, and you’re working so fast and you see the pigs going faster, faster,” he says.

“There are some supervisors, you stop the chain because there’s a problem, they come out yelling, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go!’ They swear at you, ‘C’mon, you son of a…’”

Dan Boyce / Rocky Mountain PBS for Harvest Public Media

On the worst day of Greta Horner’s life, she was dressed in a burlap robe, waiting by the window for her husband to come home from work.

The couple was down to one car. The other one was in the shop. She donned the costume for a play, set in Old Jerusalem, part of Vacation Bible School at the church. She just needed the car to get there.

Ralph Horner, or Ed as his family calls him, should’ve been pulling in the driveway any minute that morning in June 2014, home from his overnight shift as a maintenance employee at the beef plant in Greeley, Colorado. It’s owned by JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, with its North American headquarters a short drive from the Horners’ rural Larimer County home.

Poultry Plant Workers Face Abuse On The Job, Report Says

May 11, 2016
Earl Dotter / Courtesy Oxfam America

Thousands of chainmail-clad workers with knives and hooks keep a modern poultry plant churning out the millions of pounds of poultry we eat every year. The job is difficult and demanding, especially for line employees who make the same motions for hours, struggling to keep up with a fast-moving disassembly line.

A new report from Oxfam America paints an even bleaker picture.

The anti-poverty group says those line workers at the four largest poultry companies -- Tyson Foods, Sanderson Farms, Perdue Farms and Greeley-based Pilgrim’s Pride -- are routinely denied bathroom breaks, forcing some to wear adult diapers to work and others to urinate on themselves to avoid retribution from supervisors.

Sorry Robots, Meatpacking Is Still A Human Job — For Now

Aug 24, 2015
Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

Slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants throughout the country employ a lot of people. About a quarter of a million workers in the U.S. stun, kill and eviscerate the animals we eat. Most of those jobs are physically demanding and require few skills.

So why haven’t we started using more robots to cut up our beef?

The answer to the lack of meat processing robots gives insight into the limits of the technology and the economics of what it takes to put meat on American tables. Because meat processing makes up a huge portion of Great Plains communities’ rural economies, what happens inside meat processing plants affects not only the companies involved, but the very culture of rural America.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

A federal lawsuit that alleges Greeley-based meatpacking company JBS USA engaged in wide-scale discrimination against Muslim employees is heading to trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer denied the company’s request for summary judgment in a case that stems back to 2008 when the company’s Greeley beef plant fired Somali Muslim employees who were requesting breaks be scheduled to coincide with prayer time during Ramadan, a month of the Islamic calendar that requires daytime fasting and prayer.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

Food companies the world over are paying close attention to the groundswell of support for food transparency, the “know where your food comes from” movement.

JBS, the largest meat producer in the world, is beginning to take notice as well.

But executives with JBS USA, the North American arm of its Brazilian parent company, at the same time acknowledge that the very nature of their business is grisly, gory and sometimes unpalatable.

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