ConAgra to close California tomato paste plant

by Eric Schroeder
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ConAgra plans to close its Hunt-Wesson tomato paste plant in Helm, Calif.

OMAHA — ConAgra Foods, Inc. has announced plans to close its Hunt-Wesson tomato paste plant in Helm, Calif. Approximately 100 workers will be affected by the closing, which is scheduled for mid-March.

“We must operate as effectively and efficiently as possible to be successful in this competitive industry,” said Daniel Hare, a spokesman for ConAgra. “Based on a careful evaluation of our plant network we have determined that it is necessary to close the plant in Helm, Calif. We have informed our employees and will continue to have open communication as the transition occurs.”

The Helm plant was built in 1990, and in 2006 ConAgra shifted from year-round tomato processing to seasonal processing at the plant. The plant has the capacity to process 206 tons of tomatoes per hour, equal to about 67,589 lbs of tomato paste, according to a 2015 industry report from Morning Star Packing Co.
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