Smithfield Foods Inc, a subsidiary of WH Group Ltd, on Tuesday said a hog slaughterhouse in Illinois will be operational as soon as possible after a fire halted pork production on Monday.
"(The) cause of the fire is being investigated," Smithfield spokeswoman Kathleen Kirkham said, adding that there were no injuries in the fire that occurred in a rendering section of the facility in Monmouth, in the western part of the state.
Smithfield says it is the world's largest hog producer and pork processor.
The company's Farmland Foods plant in Monmouth can process more than 10,000 hogs per day, accounting for only a small percentage of total U.S. hog slaughter capacity of more than 440,000 hogs per day, according to industry data.
With the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasting record-large U.S. hog supplies this year, any prolonged outage would likely back up supplies and weigh on prices. Chicago Mercantile Exchange October lean hogs fell 2.3 percent to 59.325 cents per lb, with losses partially tied to the Smithfield outage, traders said.
One hog dealer said the fire damaged refrigeration lines for coolers at the plant. Another dealer said the facility likely will not be accepting hogs for at least two days. (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Dan Grebler)