PURIS Foods' Oskaloosa plant, where production has "temporarily idled" after a reduction in workforce.

OSKALOOSA — Production has paused at an Oskaloosa food plant after officials reduced its workforce to meet the company’s “current business needs,” according to a spokesperson.

The PURIS Foods plant in Oskaloosa has been "temporarily idled” after the company reduced some of its workforce last week, according to Lauren Perez, chief of staff at PURIS Foods.

Perez confirmed in an email with the Herald on Wednesday that employees were notified “on right sizing staff to meet current business needs” on Monday, Nov. 21. Perez would not confirm the extent of the workforce reduction but said there are still employees working in Oskaloosa.

“Oskaloosa is still a part of PURIS, and there are still employees working out of that location to meet the demands of current and future customers,” she said.

PURIS is a food supply chain that produces pea protein and other plant-based ingredients that are used for meat substitutes, protein powder and other products. The company was founded by Jerry Lorenzen in Oskaloosa in 1985, according to the company’s website.

Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with additional locations in Randolph, Minnesota; Turtle Lake, Wisconsin; and Wilmington, Illinois. Perez would not confirm if the workforce also was reduced at these locations.

Perez said employees who were let go were offered severance, along with resources and “outplacement services through a PURIS partner.”

“PURIS is grateful for all those who have contributed to our growth, and they will always be a part of the PURIS journey,” she said.

According to Iowa Workforce Development, companies with 25 or more employees are required by Iowa law to notify the state within 30 days of a mass layoff of 25 or more employees, along with permanent or temporary shutdowns, for a period exceeding six months.

The Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires companies with 100 or more employees to notify the federal government when 50 or more employees will be affected by a closing during a 30-day period. They are also required to give 60 days' notice when 500 or more employees, or 33% of the workforce, will permanently lose their job during a 30-day period.

Emily Hawk is the associate editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. She can be reached at ehawk@oskyherald.com.

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