Food chain Arby's apologizes for ad referencing West Liberty Foods plant

Attempts to portray plant in negative light are unfair, representatives say

Jillian Petrus
Published: October 3 2012 | 7:56 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 1:24 am in

A television ad for Arby's, a popular fast-food chain, took aim at Subway for buying presliced meat produced from a West Liberty Foods plant in Mount Pleasant.

The commercial features the slicing facility in the background.  The ad then goes on to suggest the meat from the plant is less fresh, because it is shipped out from the facility.

"That's a long way for a turkey sandwich," jokes the actor and former New York City detective used in the commercial.

West Liberty Foods employs 1m900 people with plants in Mount Pleasant, West Liberty and Tremonton, Utah.  Dan Waters, vice president and counsel for West Liberty Foods, said he's upset by the thoughtless nature of the ad.

"Any attempts to cast the (Mount Pleasant plant) or our company in a negative light just aren't fair," Waters said.

Waters says their facilities set high industry standards for health and food safety.  He said WLF employees actually brought the TV ad to management's attention.  He said many of the workers were upset by the idea they are not producing a fresh or healthy product.

"They do a great job," said Waters.  "They shouldn't feel bad about what they do based on that ad."

The Mount Pleasant facility catered in food for their employees Tuesday.  One woman at the facility told us, "We just want them to know their work is appreciated."

Iowans took to social media as well, in support of West Liberty Foods.  Many said they will avoid eating at Arby's until the ad is pulled from the airwaves.

Following the Iowa backlash, Arby's released this statement to The Des Moines Register: "Please know that in no way was the advertising designed to disparage the state of Iowa, but rather it's meant to dramatize the distance between a competitor's slicing facilities and any of its restaurants. Our advertising is being revised to remove the reference and will replace current advertising as soon as possible, which should be no more than a few days."

Here are two of the ads being aired by Arby's:


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