Citing its inability to "overcome the economic reality of a recall this large," Topps Meat Co. announced today it will fold. The nation's largest producer of frozen hamburgers, a stalwart in Elizabeth, NJ, for 67 years, laid off 77 workers, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. A skeleton crew of 10 will remain to aid the USDA investigation of E. coli contamination.
The beef recall, which involved 21.7 million pounds of hamburger patties, was the second-largest in US history and covered roughly a year's worth of product. "This is tragic for all concerned," said the CEO of Topps. "We regret that our products have been linked to recently reported illnesses."