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AP Business Writer

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A North Carolina poultry processor is shedding about 950 workers by closing a turkey slaughtering plant at the heart of a federal environmental crimes case.

House of Raeford Farms Inc. said Thursday it will shut down the Raeford plant within six months, after turning out frozen turkeys for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.

The Rose Hill-based company says declining consumption led to the decision to end its production of frozen turkeys that are later thawed and cooked.

House of Raeford spokesman David Witter says the decision is not related to the federal sentence of probation and a $150,000 fine imposed two weeks ago for knowingly committing Clean Water Act violations. Prosecutors said the company discharged water containing turkey blood and internal organs into Raeford’s municipal sewage treatment plant

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