Tyson Foods condemns ‘misleading characterisation’

By Aaron McDonald

- Last updated on GMT

Tyson Foods rebuffed claims it is 'driving massive manure and fertiliser pollution'
Tyson Foods rebuffed claims it is 'driving massive manure and fertiliser pollution'

Related tags Tyson foods Sustainability Environmentalism Beef Pork Poultry

A report from environmental group Mighty Earth, which targeted Tyson Foods for allegedly heavily contributing towards a large ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico, has been condemned by the meat company. 

The report was created to identify the companies that are supposedly responsible for manure and fertiliser pollution contaminating water from the heartland of the US to the Gulf of Mexico. It is claimed that much of this pollution is from corn and soy used by meat companies to raise their animals, resulting in a ‘dead zone’ off the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the report, Tyson stood out for its footprint in all of the regions that suffered the most from pollution caused by industrial meat and feed production. Pilgrim’s Pride​, JBS USA​ and Smithfield​ were also named as being some of the nation’s largest meat processors, whilst ADM​, Bunge and Cargill​ were labelled as being the top grain processors.

Shared concern

Speaking to GlobalMeatNews, a spokesperson for Tyson said the company was committed to improving the environment and the report was not entirely leading people in the right direction.

We share this group’s concern about the environment, but disagree with its misleading characterisation of our company,​” said the spokesperson. “Tyson Foods is not in the business of raising the crops and we own very few livestock farms. Instead, we depend on thousands of independent farmers to raise our chickens or sell us their cattle or hogs. We work closely with our partners from farm-to-fork to identify and deploy new technologies designed to better protect the environment, our workforce, and the communities we serve.​”

Tyson highlighted that, while the poultry industry is a major buyer of grain for feed, the report failed to address the fact that a large percentage of corn raised in the US is used for biofuel and a significant portion is used for human consumption.

Tyson focused on healthier animals, environment and food

We’re committed to the environment,​” continued the group. “That’s why we publicly disclose our environmental efforts and recently announced that we’re collaborating with the World Resources Institute to develop goals for improving our environmental footprint. We also plan to announce our collaboration with other third-party organisations that will work with us to set additional science-based targets. These efforts are part of our comprehensive, holistic approach to sustainability, which is focused on healthier animals, healthier environment, healthier workforce, healthier communities, and healthier food.​”

Tyson’s environmental commitment includes an environmental management system at each of its facilities to enable a more sustainable operation, continued focus on increased recycling and long-term participation in EPA’s [Environmental Protection Agency] SmartWay energy conservation programme.

“Tyson Foods is focused on continuous improvement,​” added the spokesperson. “We believe real change will come from a coalition of leaders from all parts of the supply chain, research institutions and advocacy groups to create an operating approach that protects resources, support farmers, and feeds America.​”

GlobalMeatNews​ reached out to the other aforementioned companies, but has yet to receive a response.

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