Tyson Foods

Infobox Company
company_name = Tyson Foods, Inc.
company_type = Public (nyse|TSN)
industry = Food processing
foundation = 1931
location = flagicon|USA Springdale, Arkansas, USA
key_people = John H. Tyson, Chairman Richard Bond, CEO
revenue = US$26 billion
num_employees = 107,000
products = Meat
homepage = [http://www.tyson.com/ www.tyson.com]

Tyson Foods, Inc. (nyse|TSN) is an American multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of the United States. With 2005 sales of US$26 billion, Tyson Foods is the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500, the largest meat producer in the world, and according to Forbes one of the 100 largest companies in the United States.

The company makes a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products at its 123 food processing plants. Tyson Foods has approximately 107,000 employees, who work at more than 300 facilities in the United States and throughout the world. Tyson works with 6,729 contract chicken growers.

Tyson Foods is one of largest U.S. marketers of value-added chicken, beef and pork to retail grocers, broad line foodservice distributors and national fast food and full service restaurant chains; fresh beef and pork; frozen and fully-cooked chicken, beef and pork products; case-ready beef and pork; supermarket deli chicken products; meat toppings for the pizza industry and retail frozen pizza; club store chicken, beef and pork; ground beef and flour tortillas. It supplies all Yum! Brands chains that use chicken (including KFC and Taco Bell), as well as McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco, IGA, Beef O'Brady's, small restaurant businesses, and prisons.

The company was criticized in 2007 by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) after an undercover investigator said he saw chickens being scalded alive and thrown around for fun by workers, and took footage of workers pulling the heads off chickens who had missed the throat-cutting machines. [http://www.petatv.com/tvpopup/Prefs.asp?video=tyson_heflin "Tyson chicken exposed"] , People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or see it on [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5_jLlP-Yao YouTube] . Also see [http://www.torturedbytyson.com/ PETA's website on Tyson Foods] .] As of February 2008, both Tyson and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said they were investigating the allegations, and Tyson has fired several of the workers involved in the incidents. The company says that some of the activities shown in the PETA video did warrant what it called corrective action, but that others were misrepresented because the birds shown had been stunned and were unconscious. [Lee, Elizabeth. [http://www.ajc.com/services/content/business/stories/2008/02/15/tyson_0215.html "Tyson fires workers embroiled in chicken torture"] , "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution", February 15, 2008.]


The company employs 107,000 people, and has 6,729 independent contract chicken growers. Current members of the board of directors are: Richard Bond, Lloyd Hackley, Scott T. Ford, Jim Kever, Jo Ann Smith, Leland Tollett, Barbara Tyson, Don Tyson, John Tyson, and Albert Zapanta.

Tyson produces many different products, including Buffalo Wings, Boneless Buffalo Wings, and Chicken nuggets and Tenders. Every week, its 54 chicken plants process 42.5 million chickens, their 13 beef plants process 170,938 cattle, and six pork plants process 347,891 pigs. Their largest meatpacking facility is their beef production plant in Dakota City, Nebraska. Other plants include hatcheries and tanneries. [Facilities include:
* Prepared foods: 27
* Case-ready beef and pork: 3
* Fully-cooked beef and pork: 1
* Animal protein: 9
* Pet food: 19
* Tanneries/hide treatment facilities: 8
* Tallow refinery: 1
* Cold storage warehouses: 65
* Forward warehousing/distribution centers: 10
* Hatcheries: 64
* Feed mills/feed blending facilities: 40


In 2001, Tyson Foods acquired IBP, Inc., the largest beef packer and number two pork processor in the U.S., for US$3.2 billion in cash and stock. Tyson has also acquired such companies as Hudson Foods Company, Garrett poultry, Washington Creamery, Franz Foods, Prospect Farms, Krispy Chickens, Ocoma Foods, Cassady Broiler, Vantress Pedigree, Wilson Foods, Honeybear Foods, Mexican Original, Valmac Industies, Heritage Valley, Lane Processing, Cobb-Vantress, Holly Farms, and Wright Brand Foods, Inc.. It also acquired along with its purchase of IBP, Inc., the naming rights to an event center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Tyson Renewable Energy

Tyson's processing plants are left with a vast supply of animal fats. In late 2006, the company created a business unit called Tyson Renewable Energy to examine ways to commercialize use of this leftover material by converting it into biofuels. [cite web | url=http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=1360 | title="Tyson Foods forms Tyson Renewable Energy" | publisher="Biodiesel Magazine" | month=January | year=2007 | accessdate=2007-08-05] The unit is also examining the potential use of poultry litter to generate energy and other products. [cite press release | url=http://www.p2pays.org/ref/16/15735.htm | title="Tyson Foods and Renewable Energy to Provide Alternative Use for Chicken Litter in Delmarva" | date=July 12, 2001 | accessdate=2007-08-05] On April 16, 2007, Tyson announced a joint venture with ConocoPhillips to produce roughly 175 million gallons of biodiesel a year— enough to run Tyson Foods' truck fleet for 3.5 years. [cite news|url=http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2007/04/16/business/041707apriltysonconoco.txt|author=Souza, Kim|date=April 16, 2007|publisher="The Morning News"|title="Tyson Foods Turning Fat Into Fuel"|accessdate=2007-08-05]

ustainability report

The Tyson Foods 2005 Sustainability Report ( [http://www.tyson.com/Corporate/PressRoom/docs/SR2005.pdf English, 3.99MB] | [http://www.tyson.com/Corporate/PressRoom/docs/SR2005Span.pdf en Espanol, 2.44MB] ) provides an overview of the company's triple bottom line reporting. The information in this report, unless otherwise noted, covers fiscal year (FY) 2005 (October 3, 2004 to October 1, 2005). It primarily focuses on Tyson operations within the United States, with some additional information provided on international operations.

Corporate citizenship

Since 2000, Tyson Foods has given nearly 41 million pounds of chicken, beef, and pork to hunger and disaster relief. Since 2002, the company has broadened its financial and other support to include nationwide partnerships with leading hunger-relief organizations meeting the needs of hungry children, including Share Our Strength, America's Second Harvest, [http://www.liftupamerica.org/ Lift Up America] , and Feed The Children.

Religious activities

Chairman John Tyson is a practicing Christian. In addition to placing 128 part-time chaplains (ranging from fundamentalist Christians to Catholic priests to Muslim Imams) in 78 Tyson plants, [cite book
last =Hedges
first =Chris
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
publisher =Free Press
year =2006
location =New York
pages =22
url =
doi =
id =
] in 2006, the company invited their customers to download a prayer book, containing prayers from many faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Native American spirituality, from their website to read during mealtime. [http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=47034 Advertising Age ] ] [ [http://www.tyson.com/Recipes/GivingThanks/ Tyson Foods, Inc.: Giving Thanks ] ] [ [http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/tysons.html Tyson Foods Wants to Be "Faith-Friendly" ] ]

Controversies involving Tyson Foods

Environmental record

During the past decade, Tyson has been involved in several lawsuits related to air and water pollution. In June 2003 the company admitted to illegally dumping untreated wastewater from its poultry processing plant near Sedalia, Missouri, pleading guilty to 20 felony violations of the federal Clean Water Act. As part of the plea agreement, the company agreed to pay $7.5 million in fines, hire an outside consultant to perform an environmental audit, and institute an "enhanced environmental management system" at the Sedalia plant. At the same time, Tyson also settled a case filed by the Missouri attorney general's office related to the same illegal dumping.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency began the investigation into the discharges in 1997, and federal officials served two criminal search warrants at the plant in 1999. According to EPA and U.S. Department of Justice officials, Tyson continued to illegally dump wastewater after the search warrants were executed, prompting an EPA senior trial attorney to remark that: "Having done this work for nearly 20 years, I don't recall any case where violations continued after the execution of two search warrants. That's stunning." Under the federal and state plea agreements, Tyson agreed to pay $5.5 million to the federal government, $1 million to the Pettis County School Fund and $1 million to the Missouri Natural Resources Protection Fund to help remedy the damage. Billionaire Felix Rich has also been fighting Tyson Foods on the basis that he claims to be the originally founder of the company. He believes that he should be the legitimate owner. [ [http://www.icego.org/details/tyson_pleads_guilty_in_pollution_case,_will_pay_$7.5_million_in_fines.html "Tyson pleads guilty in pollution case, will pay $7.5 million in fines"] . "Corporate Ethics and Government", June 25, 2003. Retrieved on June 4, 2007.]

In 2002, three residents of Western Kentucky, together with the Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit concerning the discharge of dangerous quantities of ammonia from Tyson's Western Kentucky factories. Tyson settled the suit in January 2005, agreeing to spend $500,000 to mitigate and monitor the ammonia levels. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E02EFDE143BF93BA15752C0A9639C8B63 "Tyson Settles Air Pollution Suit for $500,000"] . "The New York Times", January 28, 2005. Retrieved on June 4, 2007.]

In 2004, Tyson was one of six poultry companies to pay a $7.3 million settlement fee to the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to settle charges that the use of chicken waste as fertilizer had created phosphorus pollution in Tulsa's main drinking water sources. [ [http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=050205_Ne_A16_Judge1746 "udge OKs lawyer fees in water suit"] . "Tulsa World", February 5, 2005. Retrieved on June 4, 2007.]

Employment of undocumented immigrants

In 2001, Tyson was charged with conspiracy to smuggle undocumented workers to work on its production lines. Tyson plant managers arranged for delivery of illegal workers with undercover immigration officials. Prosecutors alleged that the conspiracy to import workers dates back to 1994 when plant managers began to find it difficult to fill positions with legal workers. Of the six managers who were indicted, two accepted plea bargain deals, and one committed suicide one month after being charged. In March 2003, a federal jury acquitted Tyson of having knowingly hired illegal immigrants. [cite web | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/05/national/main539521.shtml | title=Tyson Says Top Bosses Didn't Know | author=Poovey, Bill | date=February 7, 2003 | publisher=CBS News | accessdate=2007-08-05] [cite web | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/26/national/main546248.shtml | title=Tyson Foods Acquitted Of Illegal Hiring | author=Poovey, Bill | date=March 26, 2003 | publisher=CBS News | accessdate=2007-08-05]

In May 2006, Tyson suspended operations at nine plants during a nationwide day of immigration demonstrations citing expected lack of workers. [cite web | url=http://money.cnn.com/2006/04/28/news/companies/companies_boycott/index.htm | title=Tyson to shutter plants over immigration protest | author= | date=April 28, 2006 | publisher=CNN Money | accessdate=2007-08-05]

In October 2006, a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit brought by Tyson employees who allege that Tyson's practice of hiring illegal immigrants depresses wages 10-30%. The suit further contends that the company violated federal racketeering laws by conspiring with National Council of La Raza and League of United Latin American Countries not to question the employment applications of anyone with a Hispanic surname. [cite web | url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7029375 | title=Tyson Foods faces suit over illegal workers | author=Ott, Tanya | date=January 26, 2007 | publisher=NPR | accessdate=2007-08-05] [cite web | url=http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/061013/tyson.shtml | title=Ruling helps workers claiming Tyson hired illegals to cut wages | author=Poovey, Bill | date=October 13, 2006 | publisher=Decatur Daily | accessdate=2007-08-05] [ [http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/tyson-foods-illegal-hiring-lawsuit/story.aspx?guid=%7B624A31DE-832D-4EEA-A6FE-B979EC2C859F%7D Tyson Foods illegal hiring lawsuit set for March 2008 trial.] (2007, January 29). Market Watch. Retrieved on August 21, 2007.]

Use of questionable slaughtering methods

From December 2004 through February 2005, an undercover investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claimed to have worked on the slaughter line of a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Heflin, Alabama. Using a hidden camera, he allegedly documented the treatment of the more than 100,000 chickens killed every day in the plant. PETA alleges that workers were instructed to rip the heads off of birds who missed the throat-cutting machines. He claims he saw birds scalded alive in the feather removal tank, and he said that managers said that it was acceptable to scald 40 birds alive per shift. Interestingly the job the investigator was hired to do was to prevent the alleged abuses he videotaped: preventing birds from going into the scald tank alive. The investigator claims plant employees were also seen throwing around dead birds just for fun. PETA has asked Tyson to implement Controlled Atmosphere Killing. For this reason, PETA is boycotting businesses that use Tyson as a supplier, such as KFC and distribution channels such as Sunset Strips. The video, taken by the investigator of the killings, was posted on YouTube. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5_jLlP-Yao "Tyson chicken exposed"] , People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, "YouTube", accessed March 13, 2008.] [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5_jLlP-Yao "Former Tyson foods employee speaks out against abuses"] ]

In 2006, Tyson completed a study to determine whether controlled atmosphere killing (CAS), which uses gas to render chickens unconscious before slaughter, could be a more humane practice than conventional electrical stunning. According to Bill Lovette, Tyson's senior group vice president of poultry and prepared foods, the study found no difference between the humaneness of the two methods. The company plans to ask scientists at the University of Arkansas to initiate a similar study to test these initial results. The research will be led by the newly created Chair in Food Animal Wellbeing at the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences of the University of Arkansas. Tyson has committed $1.5 million to help establish the Chair, which will be involved in overseeing research and classes focused on the humane management and treatment of food animals. [cite press release | url=http://www.tyson.com/Corporate/PressRoom/ViewArticle.aspx?id=2403 | title=Tyson Asks University to Conduct Animal Welfare Research; Company to Help Establish Chair for Food Animal Wellbeing | publisher=Tyson Foods | accessdate=2007-08-05]

Posting of "Whites Only" sign in the workplace

In September 2005, thirteen African American workers at a Tyson Foods poultry plant in Ashland, Alabama, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit brought allegations of discrimination over several years, including a "Whites only" sign on a bathroom door and the use of racial slurs and other racist comments.Berry, D.B. (2005, August 19). [http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-usrace194389345aug19,0,4335854.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-headlines "Whites only" sign stirs a lawsuit.] "Newsday". Retrieved on August 21, 2007.] [http://www.eeoc.gov/press/8-11-05.html Tyson Foods sued for race bias and retaliation against Blacks; "Whites Only" restroom at issue.] U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2005, August 11). Retrieved on August 21, 2007.] Workers who complained about the disparate treatment were summarily suspended or suffered disciplinary actions by the management. [ [http://www.workplaceanswers.com/news/EEOC-Sues-Tyson-over-whites-only91.aspx EEOC sues Tyson over "whites only."] (2005, August 12). Workplace Answers, Inc. Retrieved on August 21, 2007.] Tyson Foods later paid $871,000 to resolve the claims of the group of plaintiffs who filed the discrimination lawsuit. [ [http://www.rendermagazine.com/December2006/People,Places.html Tyson resolves employment case.] (December 2006). "Render Magazine". Retrieved on August 21, 2007.]

Chairman $140,000 in cash stolen from briefcase

In February 2008, "The Kansas City Star "reported that a briefcase containing more than $140,000 was reported stolen from the home of the chairman, John H. Tyson. Ryan Silvey, 19, was arrested in Olathe, Kan., by the FBI Fugitive Task Force. The briefcase was reportedly stolen during a party thrown by Tyson's daughter at the family's home in Johnson, Arkansas, around December 27, 2007. Tyson reported the theft on January 2, 2008, saying that "he had collected the money over time and had it hidden in the house." [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23200080/ Police charge college student with stealing Tyson Foods chair's briefcase with $140,000 cash] ]


External links

* [http://www.tysonfoodsinc.com/ Corporate web site for Tyson Foods]
* [http://www.tyson.com/ Consumer web site for Tyson Foods]

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