Cargill Meat Solutions

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Cargill Meat Solutions
IndustryMeat processing
PredecessorExcel Packing Company
Founded1936 in Chicago, Illinois
Area served
North America
Key people
Jody Horner President
Productsbeef, turkey, food service

Cargill Meat Solutions is a subsidiary of the Minneapolis-based multinational agribusiness giant Cargill Inc,[1][2] that comprises Cargill's North American beef, turkey, food service and food distribution businesses. Cargill Meat Solutions' corporate office is located in Wichita, Kansas, United States. Jody Horner is the division's president.[3]

By May 2, 2020, Cargill's High River, Alberta facility in Canada, was the site of one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in North America[4] with one death and 921 confirmed coronavirus cases among employees—representing about 50 percent of the facility's 2,000 employees.[5] After closing for two weeks, the plant reopened on May 4.[6] By May 6, of the 5,893 confirmed cases in the entire province of Alberta, the province's health services had "linked 1,560 cases to the Cargill facility."[7]


Cargill Meat Solutions is a subsidiary of Cargill Inc—a multi-generational family-owned and operated, multinational agribusiness giant. Cargill was America's Largest Private Company, with revenues of US$106.30 billion in 2008 and 151,500 employees, according to Forbes.[8]

Cargill acquired MBPXL in 1979, and the company's name was changed to Excel in 1982.[9]

The Excel Packing Company had been formed in Chicago in 1936. In 1941, Excel moved to Wichita, and was incorporated as Kansas Beef Industries in 1970. In 1974, Kansas Beef Industries merged with Missouri Beef Packers and the company was renamed MBPXL, reflecting the merged entities, MBP for Missouri Beef Packers and XL for Kansas Beef Industries' original name, Excel. In 1982, Cargill renamed MBPXL, Excel reflecting it early history.[9]

Under its new name, the Cargill subsidiary—Excel—purchased Spencer Beef from Land O'Lakes in 1983, and added plants in Spencer, Iowa, Oakland, Iowa, and Schuyler, Nebraska.[10]

The sale was challenged on anti-trust grounds by a smaller competitor, Monfort of Colorado; while Monfort prevailed in lower courts, in 1986 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the sale was legal.[11]

In 1987, Excel entered the pork processing business when it acquired plants from Hormel in Ottumwa, Iowa, and Oscar Mayer in Beardstown, Illinois.[9] In 2001, Excel purchased Emmpak Foods, a maker of cooked meats, deli meats, frozen hamburger patties and case-ready ground beef.[12]

In a 1988, New York Times article, said that together, three meat processing companies—"Excel Inc., a subsidiary of Cargill Inc.", Conagra Brands, and Iowa Beef Products (IBP, Inc.)—now Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.—"buy, slaughter and sell nearly three-quarters of the [United States]'s grain-fattened cattle."[13]

In 2004, the division's name was changed from Excel to Cargill Meat Solutions.[14] In 2005, Cargill brought back the Excel name as a brand for the division's "everyday" meat product line.[15] In July 2015, Cargill announced it was selling its U.S. pork processing business to JBS USA for $1.45 billion.[16]

Food safety[edit]

In October 2007, Cargill recalled nearly 845,000 pounds (383,000 kg) of ground beef after an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 occurred in North Carolina.[17]

In October 2002, the Emmpak meat packing plant recalled 2,800,000 pounds (1,300,000 kg) of ground beef, also linked to an E. coli breakout. Emmpak is owned by the Excel Corporation, a subsidiary of Cargill.[18]

Cargill Proteins[edit]

In Canada, Cargill has "integrated beef processing facilities" called Cargill Proteins—one which is located just north of High River, Alberta—a town with a population 12,000 people, and a second facility in Guelph, Ontario.[19][20] The High River plant processes about 4,500 head of cattle a day, which represents about 36 percent of Canada's beef producing capacity.[20][21]

COVID-19 pandemic outbreak[edit]

A meat processing plant in High River, Alberta located about 37 miles (60 km) south of the city of Calgary, is the site of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in North America,[22][4][23] with two deaths, 946 employees who tested positive, and with links to 1,560 cases in Alberta by May 6.[22] The plant employs 2,000 people.[5]

On April 17, 2020 Deena Hinshaw, the Chief Medical Officer of Alberta reported that "households with connections" to the Cargill facility represented 358 confirmed cases of coronavirus.[23] By April 20, when Hinshaw reported the number had increased to 484—which included 360 of the 2,100 employees—the facility was temporarily closed for two weeks all employees of the facility were recommended for virus testing.[24][25] A representative of the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said that "cases at Cargill were causing a cross-contamination"—of the five workers at High River's Seasons Retirement Communities who tested positive for the coronavirus, three were married to Cargill workers.[20]

The CBC reported that Cargill slaughterhouse workers were pressured to return to their jobs after testing positive for COVID-19 and being legally required to quarantine themselves.[23]

Hearings before the Alberta Labour Relations Board on a stop-work order, sought by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union that represents Cargill workers, began on the weekend prior to the May 4 opening.[6] By May 4, the UFCW said that conditions at the Cargill facility were "unsafe for workers".[6]

The plant re-opened on May 4.[6] By May 6, of the 5,893 confirmed cases in the entire province of Alberta, the province's health services had "linked 1,560 cases to the Cargill facility."[7] As of May 12, 18 of the 37 inspectors at the High River plant had COVID-19.[26]

On April 13, 2020, 130 workers at a Cargill meatpacking plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania were diagnosed with coronavirus, and the plant closed.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cargill Canada". Cargill. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "About Cargill in Canada". Cargill. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Roy, Bill (December 3, 2012). "Newsmakers — Jody Horner, Cargill Meat Solutions". Wichita Business Journal. Archived from the original on August 12, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "What you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Sunday, May 3". CBC News. May 3, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Herring, Jason (May 2, 2020). "Three new COVID-19 deaths in Alberta as union pushes to keep Cargill closed". The Calgary Herald. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d "Union rallies as Cargill meat plant reopens after shutdown due to COVID-19". The Canadian Press via BNN Bloomberg. May 4, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Analysis: In Cargill, Alberta faces a question of morality". The Sprawl. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  8. ^ "#1 Cargill". Forbes. October 28, 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "Excel History". Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  10. ^ Lucht, Gene (June 20, 1983). "What's next? Spencer Beef sale will bring changes, but not right away". Spencer Daily Reporter. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  11. ^ Barnhart, Walt (July 1, 2008). "It's back to the future for JBS". Beef Magazine. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  12. ^ "Sale of Emmpak Foods completed". Milwaukee Business Journal. August 23, 2001. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  13. ^ Robbins, William (May 29, 1988). "A Meatpacker Cartel Up Ahead?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  14. ^ "Excel name change to Cargill Meat Solutions". Amarillo Globe-News. September 16, 2004. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  15. ^ Vandruff, Ken (October 20, 2005). "Cargill Meat Solutions revives Excel brand". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  16. ^ Freese, Betsy (July 10, 2015). "Cargill Pork's Trek Through Modern Pig Business". Successful Farming. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  17. ^ 2 Local Children Infected With E. Coli
  18. ^ "Woman hospitalized with E. coli sues Emmpak". Archived from the original on April 25, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "Meat Processing". Cargill Canada. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  20. ^ a b c "Cargill is shuttering its High River meat-packing plant after it was linked to more than 350 cases of coronavirus". Financial Post. Commodities Agriculture. April 20, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  21. ^ Ballingall, Alex (April 21, 2020). "Justin Trudeau warns beef prices could go up after Alberta plant closes due to COVID-19". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Dryden, Joel; Rieger, Sarah (May 6, 2020). "North America's biggest COVID-19 outbreak happened here — look inside". Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  23. ^ a b c Dryden, Joel (April 19, 2020). "What led to Alberta's biggest outbreak? Cargill meat plant's hundreds of COVID-19 cases". CBC News. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  24. ^ Johnson, Kelsey (April 20, 2020). "Cargill to temporarily idle Alberta beef plant as hundreds of workers infected by COVID-19". Reuters. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  25. ^ Hudes, Sammy (April 30, 2020). "High River's Cargill meat-packing plant to reopen May 4". Calgary Herald. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  26. ^ Ward, Rachel (May 13, 2020). "21 food inspectors in Alberta have COVID-19, senator says". CBC News. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  27. ^ Luciew, John (April 13, 2020). "With Pa. meat-packing workers getting COVID-19, is the food supply safe?". The Patriot-News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Retrieved April 19, 2020.

External links[edit]