Chemical Spill at JBS Processing Plant Reaches Level 1 Hazmat

The plant was evacuated.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

June 17, 2024

1 Min Read
JBS Pork plant chemical leak
The plant employs 1,200 workers.sorn340/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

The JBS plant in Louisville, KY, was briefly evacuated Thursday night while crews worked to contain a chemical leak. 

 The spill was reported on June 16th, causing immediate concern and prompting a robust emergency response. The incident occurred in the early morning, when a leak was detected in the plant’s chemical storage area. 

Fire and hazmat crews, as well as representatives with MSD and the Louisville Health Department responded to the scene, said Louisville Fire Captain Tamara Stewart.

Stewart said there was a sodium bisulfite 40% leak, leading to a Level 1 hazmat situation. 

Company spokesperson Nikki Richardson confirmed the leak in a written statement and said the plant, located in the Butchertown neighborhood, was expected to return to normal operations on Friday. 

"We had a sodium bisulfite leak in the rendering area of our Louisville pork production facility that resulted in a temporary evacuation of the plant," Richardson said. "There were no injuries. The leak has been stopped, and the facility is expected to be open and operational today."

According to officials, no injuries were reported, and all plant employees were safely evacuated. The fire department’s hazardous materials team worked diligently to neutralize the spill and ensure the area was safe.

JBS Pork is cooperating fully with local authorities to investigate the cause of the spill and implement measures to prevent future occurrences. According to its Facebook page, the plant employs 1,200 workers.

Sodium bisulfite is manufactured under cGMP and approved for use in food applications. Food grade SBS is commonly used as a preservative in food manufacturing processes. It is also used in the manufacturing of paper intended for direct food contact applications.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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