Beech-Nut Packing Company was founded in 1891 and is located in Canajoharie, New York in the Mohawk Valley. Beech-Nut was first named Imperial Packing Company. It became a major producer of baby food. Raymond P. Lipe, along with his friend John D. Zieley and their brothers, Walter H. Lipe and David Zieley, and Bartlett Arkell, founded The Imperial Packing Co. for the production of Beech-Nut ham. The product was based on the smoked hams of the Lipes’ father, farmer Ephraim Lipe.  Beech-Nut was known for making food products, originally producing ham, dried beef and lard for the first several years.

The company was incorporated as the Beech-Nut Packing Company in 1899. Arkell was the first president of the company. In 1900, the company’s sales were $200,000. Engineers from Beech-Nut patented the first vacuum jar, with a design that included a gasket and top that could remain intact in transit and became a standard of the industry. Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation is now owned by the Swiss branded consumer-goods firm Hero Group.

Workers at Beech-Nut were at risk of asbestos exposure during their employment. At the Beech-Nut facility, asbestos insulation materials were used on pipes, boilers, ovens, pumps, gaskets, packing and valves. Contractors who worked at Beech-Nut were at rick of asbestos exposure while performing construction and maintaining these facilities. These workers include carpenters, pipefitters, insulators, electricians, millwrights and other construction and maintenance workers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began its assessment of the former Beech-Nut site in 2015, when it was found that “there was extensive asbestos contamination, including a numerous outdoor debris piles left behind after prior demolition” of the facility.  Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation and B&B Recycling refused to comply with an EPA Superfund order that required asbestos removal work, so in 2017 the EPA and Montgomery County entered into a voluntary agreement to address the hazardous asbestos contamination at the site. You can read the EPA’s News Release from Region 02 here.   A resolution was passed by the Montgomery County Legislatures to enter into an administrative settlement agreement and an order on consent for removal action with the EPA to start the cleanup of the 2,532.3 tons of hazardous material from the former Beech-Nut site. Read the article from The Leader Herald about the Beech-Nut clean up here – Beech-Nut clean up set to start | News, Sports, Jobs – Leader Herald.

The attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC have gathered a vast amount of information about the type and variety of asbestos-containing products used at Beech-Nut. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos at Beech-Nut, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.