Accidental wastewater release occurs at Tyson plant

An accidental wastewater release occurred at a Tyson Foods turkey processing plant in Zeeland, Michigan, left a minimal impact, a company spokesman said.

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(cgdeaw | Bigstock)
(cgdeaw | Bigstock)

An accidental wastewater release at a Tyson Foods turkey further processing plant in Zeeland, Michigan, left a minimal impact, a company spokesman said.

The release occurred on July 11, after an equipment malfunction allowed about 1,800 gallons of wastewater to flow from a building used in the wastewater treatment plant, Worth Sparkman, senior manager of public relations for Tyson Foods, said in an email.

According to Sparkman, all water was retained on site, the impacted soil was recovered and will be disposed of properly, and there were no impacts to the groundwater or waters of the state.

“We work to make sure incidents like this don’t occur at all,” Sparkman said. “However, when they do, our teams work to contain them quickly and take corrective action immediately.”

The processing plant in Zeeland was acquired by Tyson Foods as part of its 2014 acquisition of Hillshire Brands. The Zeeland facility was a recipient of the Award of Honor by the American Meat Institute, the predecessor of the North American Meat Institute, in 2010.

Tyson Foods is the fifth largest turkey company in the United States. According to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, Tyson Foods’ turkey operations employ about 655 people. Tyson Foods, in 2018, slaughtered 368 million pounds of live turkeys. Its turkey brands include Sara Lee, State Fair, Hillshire Farms and Jimmy Dean.

In addition to being the fifth largest turkey company in the country, Tyson Foods is the largest broiler company in the United States and the second largest in the world, trailing only JBS.

The company, headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, is also a major processor of pork and beef products, and has recently entered the plant-based protein sector. As a livestock and poultry feed producer, Tyson Foods is the third largest company in the U.S. and the eighth largest in the world, according to Feed Strategy rankings.

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