Century-Old Meat Producer Goes Bankrupt After ‘Temperature Abuse’

Staff
By Staff
3 Min Read

Freirich Foods has been in the meat business since 1921, when it was founded by young German sausage maker Julian Freirich on Long Island. The company, now based in Salisbury, North Carolina, makes a lot of meat, from pastrami and roast beef to other specialty items. However, the company is perhaps most known for corned beef. The family-owned business says it controls more than 40% of the New York Metro and New England markets.

The company says Freirich corned beef is eaten more than any other brand.

Earlier this month, the company filed for bankruptcy protection after 1.2 million pounds of corned beef went bad at a partner’s cold storage facility. 

Freirich Foods told Freight Waves that it is the victim of “temperature abuse” after losing more than $7 million in product. 

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The company’s CEO, Paul Bardinas, says Freirich took out about $7 million in credit to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday accounts for a significant portion of the company’s sales.

The company was under water when the product spoiled and was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. 

According to court documents, Freirich blames Americold Logistics for “spoliation of product due to lack of refrigeration.”

Bardinas, a fourth-generation family member, told Freight Waves that all the company has left is 1.2 million pounds of spoiled product and “temperature abuse is the only thing that explains it.” He says a likely “dramatic event” at the cold storage facility is the only explanation.

In a statement to IEN, an Americold spokesperson said, “We are aware that Freirich Foods has filed for bankruptcy and has referenced Americold in their filing. Americold is committed to holding ourselves to the highest of standards in operating cold storage facilities around the world. We cannot comment on this alleged incident during the claims process.”

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The spoilage issue came to light in early March when the company started receiving complaints over foul and discolored products. Freirich conducted an internal investigation and couldn’t uncover any problems with raw materials or ingredients. Freirich even shipped some products directly to customers, none of which had any problems. 

IEN reached out to Freirich, but the company didn’t immediately responded to our request for comment.

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