Peco Foods, one of the nation’s largest poultry companies, had seven facilities recognized for their outstanding safety performance during the annual U.S. Poultry & Egg safety conference. The facilities that received an award included the Gordo, Alabama, Feed Mill; Sebastopol, Mississippi, Hatchery; Batesville, Arkansas, Processing Plant; Canton (Fulton St.), Mississippi, Processing Plant; Pocahontas, Arkansas, Processing Plant; Sebastopol, Mississippi, Processing Plant; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Processing Plant. 

“Our goal is for every team member to return home safe, every day, which is why we place safety as a core value within our organization,” said Pete VanDerlyke, Ph.D., CSP, corporate director of environmental, health and safety for Peco Foods. “We are proud of each facility for their continued commitment to the safety of our 7,000+ team members, producers and customers around the world.” 

The Joint Poultry Industry Safety Recognition Award Program is open to members of the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association who have a Total Recordable Incident rate and Cases with Days Away from Work, Job Transfer or Restriction (DART) rate less than or equal to the industry average from the past three years (2019-2021). Applicants must also submit a narrative providing examples of how the facility demonstrates safety through implementation of innovative and effective employee safety and health programs. An independent panel of judges reviews all submissions before awarding the three levels of honor. 

With a top-down approach to safety, Peco’s company-wide commitment spreads across all aspects of its operation from hatcheries to further processing. This year Peco’s Sebastopol, Mississippi, Processing Plant received the highest honor, “Award of Distinction,” by demonstrating excellence and innovation in facility safety.  

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“Last year we implemented a new management system to help us identify safety trends and better track ‘near miss’ events,” said Casey Burns, Sebastopol Complex Safety manager. “This has allowed us to reduce hazards in the workplace and encourage our team members to come forward with any safety concerns.” 

One of the top poultry companies in the U.S., Peco supplies a broad range of products and services to national restaurant chains, regional food service distributors, retail grocers and international accounts. Headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Peco has more than 7,000 team members across Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.