Ruiz Foods Fire

Ruiz Foods, known for frozen Mexican food brands like El Monterey and Tornados, operates out of Dinuba and Frisco with an estimated annual sales figure exceeding $1 billion, as indicated by co-founder Fred Ruiz at UC Merced’s commencement speech in 2021.

Early this morning, a fire at the Dinuba plant was contained, and its source is currently under investigation.

Product Description

Ruiz Food Products is a premier manufacturer of frozen Mexican cuisine under the brands El Monterey and Tornados, operating for over 50 years and boasting more than 3,500 team members in three states. They aim to offer customers delicious, authentic fiesta-style foods that make every celebration feel better.

ABC 30 KFSN reported on Feb. 23 that Ruiz Food’s plant in Dinuba experienced a fire on Feb. 23, which was contained after firefighters used roof-fighting tactics to fight through it and have it, but its cause remains unknown. Officials indicate one individual suffered minor injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure.

The plant specializes in producing El Monterey burritos and Tornados frozen snack foods, with annual sales surpassing $100 million. Additionally, private label products for various grocery stores and food service providers have been produced under its supervision; its headquarters is in Denison, Texas; plans are underway to expand facilities further.

The new facility will house a second production line to meet increased demand across retail, food service, and convenience store markets. The management team of this company strives to create value for shareholders through efficient operations, expanding customer bases, and new product development initiatives; optimizing logistics while decreasing costs as part of improving supply chain efficiency is also a priority for this business.


Ruiz was raised in a traditional Cuban family that owned restaurants and began cooking alongside his father at ten years old. Since graduating from San Diego Culinary Institute, he has worked in kitchens across the United States, advocating for sustainable local ingredients while creating an environment where young chefs could flourish. Most recently, he held his most acclaimed post as chef de cuisine of Denver’s critically acclaimed Fruition Restaurant, where he refined his skills for seasonal sourcing of seasonal and sustainable fare.

Ruiz Foods Products Inc. of Dinuba, which produces El Monterey and Tornados brand frozen Mexican food products, recently purchased a facility in Florence, South Carolina, to increase production capacity and gain flexibility when manufacturing locations change, according to CEO and president Dan Antonelli. The new acquisition increases capacity while adding manufacturing locations flexibility, as outlined by Antonelli.

Tornados is a well-known brand of frozen Mexican food, and this new facility will produce and package it. As part of its renovation to meet production requirements, renovation work is currently taking place to meet production demands.

Antonelli said the move will centralize Ruiz’s executive offices and simplify recruiting and retaining employees, adding that the action should take 18-20 months to complete. Frisco is about 30 minutes from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, and Ruiz plants can easily access it, as well as those in Dinuba, Tulare, and Denison, Texas, and Vernon, California.


Ruiz Foods Fire, founded in 1964 and with five facilities across the US, specializes in ready-to-eat frozen products like taquitos and chimichangas, among others. Their products can be found in convenience stores, clubs, vending machines, and industrial environments under brands such as El Monterey Tornados Artisan Bistro – each selling at various price points depending on customer preferences.

Recently, a company issued a recall of chicken taquitos that may contain salmonella to institutions across Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin with 24-count Go-Go Taquitos “Buffalo Style Cooked Glazed Chicken,” case code 86006 printed on each cardboard case label.

Ruiz Food’s facility in Dinuba, California, produced and distributed these taquitos nationwide to distributors. McCain Foods reported concerns about potential Salmonella or Listeria contamination of one ingredient used to make these taquitos, prompting Ruiz Foods’s recall from all distributors nationwide.

Ruiz Foods’ decision to move its headquarters from Dinuba to Frisco was driven by several factors, including access to more qualified employees in the Dallas area. Antonelli asserts that Ruiz will maintain a strong presence in Central Valley; Dinuba currently houses Ruiz’s flagship manufacturing plant, employing 1,600 people.


Ruiz Foods of Dinuba was forced to temporarily evacuate early this morning as crews responded to an early-morning fire. Ruiz has been manufacturing frozen Mexican foods in Dinuba since 1960, and their products are distributed nationwide under the El Monterey and Tornados brands. One person was treated for minor injuries.

Ruiz’s argument that the Class One recall qualifies as accidental contamination under the Policy is flawed for two reasons. Courts have established a bright line rule requiring objective, verifiable evidence of actual contamination to trigger product contamination insurance policies, and deposition testimony has revealed that “would result in clearly identifiable internal or external physical symptoms of bodily injury” is enough to trigger coverage despite accidental causes; potentially illness-inducing actions (random or not) trigger the Policy as well.

According to Antonelli, Ruiz Foods will retain a “powerful presence” in the Central San Joaquin Valley, where it started 60 years ago. Ruiz will maintain its flagship manufacturing plant in Tulare County and employ approximately 1,600 people between both locations (Tulare and Frisco). Ruiz also operates another manufacturing facility in Florence, South Carolina, and may offer jobs there for corporate staff who cannot move back – particularly those working in food or consumer packaged goods industries, according to Antonelli.