Smithfield Foods to close in 2018 after more than two decades

Smithfield Farms is shutting down in 2018, a day after a yearlong court battle to force the company to clean up a decades-old contamination scandal at its Tennessee plant.

The company said it would close its plant in Tennessee on Tuesday, one day after U.S. District Judge Thomas J. Peeples in Tennessee declared the plant’s future in the state inoperable.

Smithfield said it will close its Tennessee facility in 2018 and that it will take the “appropriate action” to avoid a repeat of the “catastrophic” events at its plants in Kentucky and Ohio in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Smithfields said it was making the decision to close the plant after a legal battle that lasted more than a decade.

The company said in a statement that it is “taking the necessary steps to ensure our facilities remain in good working order and safe for the future.”

Peeples ruled that the company did not comply with the Clean Water Act’s requirements to clean-up the contamination at its plant near the Tennessee border in 2015.

The case was brought by a group of farmers who claim the company’s production of meat products contaminated their water and soil.

Smith, the No. 1 U.N. food producer and supplier, is the largest producer of meat, dairy, eggs and poultry in the world.

Its operations are spread across four states: Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Peeves said in an order issued last year that the plant had been producing more than 500 million pounds of meat and dairy products a year since 1977.

The plant had produced more than 7 million pounds in 2017 and about 8 million pounds this year, the court order said.

Smiths spokesman Dan Bresch said in response to the ruling that the “Smithfield family is committed to making good business decisions.”

Pawel Babiszynski, a spokesman for Smiths, declined to comment on the closure.