Food Engineering magazine has named Smithfield Foods its 2014 sustainable processor of the year, reflecting Smithfield's corporate commitment to sustainability as demonstrated by projects at three plants in Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina. The honor, featured in the November issue, cites successful programs to reduce wastewater, utilize biogas generated by wastewater treatment and reduce waste sent to the landfill — all components of Smithfield's commitment to reduce its environmental impact.

The magazine's 2014 award is the first to focus on a processor with multiple plants rather than a sustainable plant of the year. "This year, Food Engineering has selected Smithfield Foods as its Sustainable Processor of the Year because the processor has made it a corporate priority to improve the sustainability of all its plants and for them to give back to the communities in which they're located," wrote Senior Technical Editor Wayne Labs.

The award is open to any facilities that produce food for human consumption. Judging criteria includes energy usage, recovery and reuse; water usage, reuse and treatment; sustainable packaging initiatives; employee safety, comfort and health initiatives; community impact; and corporate sustainability mission statement implementation, among other criteria.

The article focuses on two initiatives at John Morrell Food Group's Armour-Eckrich Meats in Peru, Indiana, one a project to reduce the amount of wastewater sent to a public treatment plant and the other on the facility's achievement of zero-waste-to-landfill status—a first within the Smithfield organization. Also recognized were the Saratoga Food Specialties operations in Bolingbrook, Illinois, where multiple initiatives reduced energy and water use and the amount of waste to landfill, and a project at Smithfield Farmland's Tar Heel, North Carolina. facility, which utilized biogas from wastewater.

"Food Engineering's decision to feature multiple projects at Smithfield operating companies is further testament to the deep commitment to sustainability found throughout our business," said Dennis Treacy, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer, Smithfield Foods. "We particularly salute our colleagues in North Carolina, Indiana, and Illinois for making us proud through the implementation of these initiatives."