Birko History

A proud legacy of protecting the food chain.

Birko founders Florence and Ward Smith

In 1953, Ward and Florence Smith founded Birko Corporation in their Ogden, Utah, garage. Two of the first Birko products were an alkaline cleaner and an edible tripe washing solution. Tripe Wash is still manufactured in several formulations today and used for cleaning and whitening in federally inspected meat plants.

The Smiths relocated Birko to Denver to provide the growing number of meatpacking plants in the area with cleaning and sanitizing service for slaughter. Ward Smith died in 1977, and Florence Smith took over as President and CEO. In 1979, Birko opened its first Colorado location, an 18,000-square-foot facility in Westminster. In 1992, Birko moved to its current headquarters in Henderson, Colorado, which houses our research laboratories, chemical manufacturing facilities, warehouse and corporate offices.

In 2011, Birko purchased Kansas City-based equipment manufacturer Chad Co., which now operates as Birko’s equipment division. Chad has long delivered exceptional custom equipment and service to the protein processing industry. The acquisition of Chad allowed Birko to offer more integrated food safety solutions, combining chemicals, technology, and equipment.

Today, Birko offers more than 400 chemical products and a wide selection of innovative equipment to companies in the protein, further processing, produce and brew industries. Ward and Florence Smith’s granddaughter, Kelly Green, now serves as Chairman of the Board, president, and third-generation owner of Birko.