Smithfield Foods Worker Dies Following Plant Accident

A worker at Smithfield Foods’ Tar Heel, N.C., plant has died after an accident Tuesday afternoon.

The Bladen County coroner identified the worker as 55-year-old Michael Jessup, who had been a Smithfield employee for more than a decade, according to WECT-TV. A preliminary investigation by the North Carolina Department of Labor indicated Jessup died from injuries suffered when he was struck in the head by a cylinder while trying to remove a bent wheel from a chain drive, according to

Jessup was pronounced dead at the scene.

In the statement, Smithfield said it was investigating the incident and is “deeply saddened” by the loss of one of its employees.

Smithfield’s Tar Heel facility is the world’s largest pork processing plant, employing nearly 5,000 people and processing more than 30,000 hogs each day.