WASHINGTON – An Illinois congressman decided to request assistance from two federal regulatory agencies after recent complaints continued regarding foul odors from a St. Charles, III., processing plant run by Smithfield Foods.

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, (D-III.), stated that he wrote two letters to the Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) asking for inspections.

“With consideration to public health and quality of life in our local communities, I urge the (USDA/EPA) to take steps to identify the cause of the increased odors and remediate the situation, including an immediate inspection of the Smithfield Foods facility in St. Charles,” Krishnamoorthi stated in the letter according to Shaw Local News Network. “Furthermore, I request that the findings of the inspection be made available to my office and the public.”

The Smithfield facility produces dried sausage, pepperoni and salami and employs around 500 workers.

In response to the congressman’s inquiry, Smithfield explained its position regarding the situation in St. Charles.

“We fully understand the concerns with odor associated with our wastewater system in St. Charles and are working to be sure we are doing our part to mitigate any odor issues,” said Ray Atkinson, senior director of external communications for Smithfield Foods. “It is important to note that the last complaint was more than three months ago. After the last complaint in early May, Illinois EPA visited our facility and noted that ‘The odor control system appears to be operating properly with no odors.’”

He added that Smithfield invested more than $350,000 in odor neutralization. The company retained a wastewater consultant, implemented additional wastewater operator training and hired an environmental/wastewater supervisor in a new role at the St. Charles wastewater facility.

“We are in constant communication with the City of St. Charles and will be providing regular updates to city council on our progress,” Atkinson said. “Regarding the contact from Representative Krishnamoorthi, we are in contact with his office to share information about investments we have made and will be making to mitigate any potential odor issues at our wastewater treatment facility in St. Charles.”