Swanton meatpacker closes

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One of the largest meatpacking plants in Vermont is out of business. Swanton Packing closed its doors last week because of federal regulations designed to prevent the spread of mad cow disease. The family-owned business had also been hit hard by a steep increase in worker’s compensation insurance.

Owner Frank Read says he had hoped to keep the business running until a buyer could be found.

The U.S. Agriculture Department issued regulations that prevented farmers from selling old and sick cows for meat because of fears it could spread mad cow disease. About 20 percent of Swanton Packing’s business had been with so-called downer cows.

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