Topps Meat Company LLC announced today that because of the economic impact of the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history involving more than 21.7 million pounds of ground beef products, it is forced to close its Elizabeth plant and go out of business effective today.

“This is tragic for all concerned,” said Anthony D’Urso, Chief Operating Officer. “In one week we have gone from the largest U.S. manufacturer of frozen hamburgers to a company that cannot overcome the economic reality of a recall this large. We sincerely regret the impact this will have on our employees, our customers and suppliers, and the community. Most of all, we regret that our products have been linked by public health agencies to recently reported illnesses. We hope and pray for the full recovery of those individuals.”

A small number of the 87 employees will remain at the Elizabeth plant for an indefinite time to assist the USDA in its ongoing investigation and to handle administrative matters, including ensuring the effectiveness of the recall.

“We want to thank our loyal employees and customers who have supported us throughout the 67 years in which Topps Meat has been in business,” D’Urso said. “Topps has always prided itself on providing the utmost quality and safety and never had a recall in our history until now. This has been a shocking and sobering experience for everyone.”