Tyson Foods has agreed to pay a $2 million fine to the federal government and make a $500,000 community service payment for an accidental discharge at its poultry complex in Monett, Missouri, that occurred in 2014.
In a press release issued on September 27, Tyson Foods stated that it has taken full responsibility for the incident.
“An unfortunate mistake was made by our company in May 2014 that resulted in the accidental release of an animal feed ingredient into the City of Monett’s wastewater treatment system. The release disrupted the treatment system and resulted in a fish kill in a nearby stream,” the company stated.
“We deeply regret the mistake that was made and have taken corrective action to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We’re committed to doing better in all areas of our business, especially when it comes to protecting the environment.”
To demonstrate that commitment, Tyson Foods, since the incident occurred, has conducted lessons-learned training for all environmental managers in its poultry operations and has strengthened its environmental policies and procedures to help prevent similar mistakes, the company stated in the release.
Half of the community service payment will go toward the City of Monett, while the other half of the money will go toward Missouri environmental organizations.
Earlier settlement with State of Missouri
In 2014, Chris Koster, who was Missouri’s attorney general at the time, filed a lawsuit against Tyson Foods, regarding the accidental discharge. Koster alleged at least 10,000 fish died as a result.
Tyson acknowledged and publicly apologized via newspaper advertisements for the incident, and in 2015, reached a settlement with the state. That settlement included paying a civil penalty, funding a bridge replacement in Monett and donating money to the James River Basin Partnership.
Tyson facility a former Clean Water Award winner
Prior to the 2014 incident, the Monett complex had been recognized as a leader in good environmental stewardship. In 2009, Tyson’s Monett facility was recognized as a recipient of a Clean Water Award at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Environmental Management Seminar.