The Latest: Pork grower denies pollution after judge’s order

In this photo taken Nov. 11. 2015, a pig looks out of its pen at Seabord Foods' Ladder Creek hog feeding operation near Tribune, Kan. The operation is the nation's second largest confined hog feeding farm and the company is set to build another site nearby if granted a permit by the state. The company is pumping wells that had been idled for a decade. Environmentalists and some residents fear that instead of preserving the remaining water for residents, the county will be a desert once the hogs and the water are long gone. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a federal judge ordering pork production giant Murphy-Brown LLC to follow through on an agreement and allow studies that could lead to cleaning up water pollution (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

A major pork producer says there’s no evidence of groundwater contamination at its North Carolina operations after a federal judge ordered the company to live up to an agreement it signed 11 years ago and work on cleaning up water pollution.

Smithfield Foods Inc. Vice President Stewart Leeth said Tuesday all farms and facilities comply with federal and state law.

U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm Howard on Monday ordered Smithfield subsidiary Murphy-Brown LLC to fix problems at 11 sites in in Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Pitt, Sampson and Scotland counties. The order ends the company’s three-year delay to have a mutually agreed consultant develop clean-up plans.

Environmentalists say the independent expert found groundwater contamination or waste lagoon problems at the Murphy-Brown sites.

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1:50 p.m.

A federal judge is telling a major pork producer to live up to an agreement it signed 11 years ago and work on cleaning up water pollution tied to almost a dozen industry-scale hog operations.

U.S. District Court Judge Malcolm Howard this week ordered Murphy-Brown LLC to end a three-year delay and have a mutually agreed consultant develop plans to fix problems at 11 sites in in Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Pitt, Sampson and Scotland counties.

Environmentalists say the independent expert found groundwater contamination or waste lagoon problems at the operations.

A Murphy-Brown spokeswoman and the company’s attorneys didn’t respond Tuesday to messages seeking comment.

Murphy-Brown is the North Carolina-based livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., which is owned by the Chinese company that is the world’s largest pork producer.