USA: Company plans to reopen central Indiana food plant to make Halal meat products

MUNCIE, Indiana — A startup company has plans to produce meats prepared according to Islamic law at a former corn dog plant in central Indiana.

Halal Processing Solutions has taken over the former Monogram Comfort Foods facility that closed this spring, ending the jobs of 87 workers.

Company president Tom Keim told members of a Muncie City Council committee that workers have removed processing equipment formerly used by Monogram and replaced or rehabbed the building’s floors and walls.

hot dogsThe Texas-based company will produce food such as beef hot dogs, bologna and breakfast strips for Islamic customers around the country, Keim said. Halal food never includes pork and all meat is slaughtered in the most humane ways.

Keim said animals won’t be slaughtered at the plant but that an imam will have an office there to certify the process, similar to processors that have a rabbi on site to ensure that Jewish kosher standards are met.

The City Council committee voted in favor of the company’s request for property tax abatement on equipment at the plant. The full council is expected to consider the request on Monday.

Keim and Halal executive Paul Whitehair said they expected the plant would also ultimately produce turkey and chicken products.

City Council President Jerry Dishman emphasized to Keim and Whitehair the importance of re-hiring former Monogram employees.

The company executives said it now employed about 15 people — many of them former employees — and that they hoped to add 35 more people to the workforce within six months. Keim said he believed the company could eventually surpass the number of workers that the plant had when it closed.