At Tyson Foods, we believe it is our duty to provide a safe food supply to feed the growing world population. Our approach to food safety and quality is comprehensive, preventive, and proactive. Controls and measures are implemented at every level to ensure our products are second-to-none in safety and quality. From our laboratories, to our monitoring programs for products and processes, to our Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point verification processes, our commitment to safe, quality food is evident in the programs and controls we employ to protect consumers. Assessments for product improvement occur during product research and development, manufacturing and production, marketing and promotion, storage and distribution, and consumer use. We believe this approach helps guarantee the safety and quality of our products from the farm all the way to the dinner table. Moreover, we believe this approach helps ensure each product leaving a Tyson Foods facility meets or exceeds customer expectations. Below are examples of how this approach is implemented throughout our company and its operations.

At The Farm
Ensuring the safety and quality of our food products begins at the farm. Family Farmers raise the majority of our chickens. We provide producers with veterinary support, nutritionally formulated feed, technical assistance, and information on optimal lighting, ventilation, and animal well-being. We also help them implement strict biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of disease among animals, and we perform thousands of tests each week to confirm the health of our animals, including avian influenza testing of all chicken flocks prior to transport to a processing facility.

FarmCheck™ Program Logo We buy cattle and hogs on the open market from independent livestock producers. To ensure the safety and quality of our products, we work with industry associations to develop standards for the raising of these animals. For example, we support the We CareSM Initiative responsible pork program, a joint effort of the Pork Checkoff, through the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council. The program helps demonstrate that producers are accountable to established ethical principles, use antibiotics judiciously, and practice proper animal well-being. Tyson Foods also requires all farmers supplying the company with live pigs to be certified in the National Pork Boards’ Pork Quality Assurance Plus® program.

As another example, in October 2012 Tyson Foods announced the launch of a program in which the company will audit the treatment of animals at the livestock and poultry farms that supply the company. Learn more about this program in the Animal Well-Being section of this report.

Our Food Safety and Quality Assurance Department
The Tyson Foods Food Safety and Quality Assurance (FSQA) Department plays an integral role in maintaining our food safety and quality policies and ensuring our products meet specifications. The FSQA department is supported by 2,100 food safety and quality professionals serving in key functions at both the corporate and facility level. Working in partnership with facility management teams and regulatory authorities, the FSQA team monitors the implementation and effectiveness of our food safety and quality assurance policies, procedures, and controls.

Our FSQA department is structured to include Animal Welfare, Laboratory Services, Food Safety, Quality Assurance, Consumer Relations, Regulatory Compliance, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), and Statistical Analysis. Moreover, the department is organized such that no conflict of interest between food safety and quality versus production or sales exists. The Senior Vice President line-of-reporting parallels those of Operations and Sales up to the Chief Operating Officer. Additionally, all facility FSQA managers, and their support staffs report through Tyson Foods’ Corporate FSQA Department.

Food Safety and Laboratory Services Network
The Tyson Foods Safety and Laboratory Services (FSLS) Network is recognized throughout the industry as a leader in food-safety research, analytical chemistry, and microbiological analyses. The FSLS network is comprised of 17 laboratories, including two corporate laboratories, four regional laboratories, and 11 fresh meat laboratories. Twelve of these 17 laboratories are ISO 17025 certified.

The Tyson Foods Safety and Research Laboratory in Springdale, Arkansas, is a 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility. In addition to ISO 17025 certification, the laboratory has certification for ISO 9001-2008. It has full-service capabilities for analytical testing, with food-safety research as the main focus.

The FSLS network utilizes the Labware LIMS system to collect, store, and report laboratory data. Currently, all laboratories in the Tyson Foods’ FSLS network are connected to the LIMS system, including 58-plant-based quality-assurance laboratories. This allows Tyson Foods’ laboratories to easily generate seamless reports, and it enables data to be interfaced with other electronic systems within the company’s system.

Laboratory Testing

In 2010, the Springdale, Arkansas, Tyson Foods Food Safety and Research Laboratory won the coveted Arkansas Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence. The Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence is the highest honor awarded in the Governor’s Quality Award Program, which is the Arkansas version of the national Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. The purpose of the award is to help Arkansas businesses improve and become more competitive in the national and world marketplaces. The highest level of recognition is presented to organizations that have demonstrated, through their practices and achievements, the highest level of performance excellence. This criterion requires an intensive evaluation in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, knowledge management, workforce focus, process management, and the measurement of processes and outcomes across the organization.

Audits and Inspections
All Tyson Foods’ production facilities, co-packers, custom processors, distribution centers, and suppliers of ingredients and packaging materials are required to comply with the government regulations and company policies, procedures, controls, and good manufacturing practices applicable to their operations. To ensure compliance with these requirements, we conduct, and are subject to, a number of audits and inspections.

  • Tyson Foods’ chicken, beef, pork, and prepared foods products are subject to inspection prior to distribution, primarily by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Tyson Foods also participates in the United States Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program and is subject to the Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures and the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.
  • Tyson Foods maintains a stringent internal audit program. In addition to a variety of daily verification activities, the company’s in-plant FSQA Team Members conduct monthly audits of their facility, good manufacturing practices, and food security. These audits occur at every Tyson Foods processing location and are conducted by a cross-functional group, with corrective action taken for each deviation. On an annual basis, trained corporate and facility staff (independent from the facility being audited) conduct a thorough review of each facility’s food-safety, regulatory, and quality programs, along with a facility inspection. This audit is based on the Global Food Safety Initiative requirements along with some additional requirements of Tyson Foods. As of 2011, Tyson Foods has more than 30 Team Members trained to conduct these internal corporate audits.
  • The company’s FSQA department maintains a comprehensive ingredient supplier audit program that establishes a method for assuring the ingredients used in our food products meet regulatory food safety and quality standards as well as our ingredient supplier requirements. We require annual third-party audits for all ingredient suppliers. Moreover, our FSQA department conducts random ingredient supplier audits. Any ingredient that does not meet our safety and quality requirements will not be used in a Tyson Foods’ product.
  • In July 2008, we began pursuing our Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification. The GFSI is a partnership between food safety experts from retailer, manufacturer, and food service companies that focuses on the “continuous improvement in food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers.” The GFSI benchmarked audit is an all-inclusive, one-stop shop for all things related to food safety and quality. As of December 2012, 73 of Tyson Foods’ U.S. facilities have been certified against the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety, Issue 5, and 95 percent of those facilities passed with an “A” grade. In late 2011, our facilities in Brazil began their BRC certification audits. All three of these facilities received an “A” grade. Our operations in Mexico are expecting to complete their certification process by the end of calendar year 2012.

Advancements and Investments in FSQA
Tyson Foods has a history of developing innovative and effective food-safety systems. These systems have been recognized as gold standards in the industry and as state of the art by government regulators. These innovations are essential in maintaining the confidence customers and consumers have in all Tyson Foods brands. Moreover, our commitment to food safety is not a point of competition between manufacturers. We openly share our food-safety research and technologies with peers and colleagues.

  • At Tyson Foods, we employ a rigorous environmental microbiological-surveillance program named the Sentinel Site Program®. Launched in 1999, this program is an ongoing verification of the hazard analysis regarding the potential for post-processing contamination of ready-to-eat (RTE) products with Listeria monocytogenes. Data are collected through the Sentinel Site Program on a weekly basis from food-contact surfaces, non-food-contact surfaces, as well as indirect-food-contact surfaces. The Sentinel Site Program also includes provisions for random sampling of finished products on a quarterly or monthly basis, depending on the establishment’s risk categorization.

    In September 2012, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) not only renewed but strengthened their endorsement of this program within the Compliance Guideline for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes in Post-lethality Exposed Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products by including a hyperlink to assist interested parties in obtaining a copy of the Sentinel Site Program. Tyson Foods’ efforts to advance food safety throughout the industry include the routine sharing of our food safety programs with our suppliers, customers, and industry colleagues.

  • The Tyson Total N-60™ trim-sampling program that detects the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in beef trimmings is recognized as the gold standard within the industry. E. coli O157:H7 is one of hundreds of strains of the bacterium Escherichia coli. Although most strains are harmless and coexist within healthy humans and animals, this strain produces a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness if consumed. Through collaborative industry research and the identification of control mechanisms, Tyson Foods is reducing the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in ground beef.
  • Carcass PREP is a comprehensive, systems approach to beef slaughter, focused on the prevention and elimination of microbiological food-safety hazards. Specific elements to our Carcass PREP program include, but are not limited to, good manufacturing practices; Team Member training and certification; monitoring of system performance; science-based validations of our HACCP program; continuous process improvement driven by application of Statistical Process Control, research and development innovations, and state-of-art equipment and facility designs; and testing for E.coli O157:H7 using the Tyson Total N-60 sampling program.
  • Tyson Foods’ Specified Risk Material (SRM) Program outlines the company’s process for identifying and controlling potential exposure to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. The SRM program was established to identify processes in which specified risk material might be found. The company’s SRM and other beef food-safety-driven controls include, but are not limited to, the removal of all SRMs from carcasses or meat; the use of a pre-evisceration wash; zero tolerance critical control points for fecal, ingesta, and milk on carcasses; a high-pressure wash and steam-pasteurization process; the rapid chill of carcasses to 45°F or below within 24 hours; and testing of all ground-beef components for E. coli O157:H7 prior to grinding.
  • Beginning in fiscal year 2008, a proprietary wireless and paperless data collection system, called the Plant.View™ System, was expanded to cover all of the company’s higher-risk food production facilities. All critical food-safety and quality assurance data are entered via handheld devices into the Plant.View database. The data are automatically compared to the specification or applicable regulatory limits. If an observation is found to be unacceptable, the system automatically creates required corrective action records, alerts appropriate members of FSQA and operations management and, if configured to do so, places products on FSQA Hold. We recently initiated efforts to identify opportunities to automate the data capture function by integrating electronic instruments such as scales, temperature recording devices, and other process control logic systems. These efforts are intended to further reduce our dependence on paper-based data storage as well as variability in our processes, thus driving continual improvement of product quality and safety.
  • Since 2001, Tyson Foods has had a Facility Sanitary Design Policy in place to ensure all of our facilities are capable of producing a safe product. The Facility Sanitary Design Policy is part of the Tyson Foods Corporate FSQA Manual. The purpose of this policy is to provide minimum parameters for the design, operation, and maintenance of meat and poultry processing equipment and facilities. The objective is to protect food products from contamination and to ensure product contact surfaces can be cleaned properly. These guidelines are meant to accompany all regulatory and GFSI facility standards.

Food Defense Systems
Tyson Foods has implemented, and continues to strengthen, food-defense systems at all of our facilities. Food-defense plans have been implemented at each Tyson Foods facility. Security measures are in place at each facility that limit access to the facility only to authorized Team Members, visitors, and vehicular traffic. Other implemented security measures are designed to assure the security of all products stored at the facility through the use of trailer seals, further-restricted areas within the facility, surveillance cameras, and other preventive countermeasures.

The cornerstone of our food-defense system is our Team Members. Team Member vigilance and awareness of daily surroundings and potential food-defense vulnerabilities are critical to the prevention of intentional product adulteration. All Tyson Foods Team Members are required to immediately report to their supervisor, Quality Assurance, or the Ethics Department any actual or suspected failure to comply (whether intentional or due to negligence) with food-safety laws, regulations, or company-defined policies.

Food Safety Task Force
Tyson Foods is committed to continuous improvement and believes teamwork is vital in achieving greatness. The Food Safety and Quality Assurance group has coordinated multiple task forces to improve facility food safety, including the Food Safety Committee, a Salmonella/Campylobacter Task Force, the Listeria Task Force, and a Sanitary Design Task Force.

  • The Food Safety Committee and Salmonella/Campylobacter Task Force are comprised of Team Members from Fresh Meats, Poultry and Prepared Foods, Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Statistics, Laboratory Research, Regulatory Compliance, and Research and Development. These teams evaluate current industry practices and establish new methodologies, or improve on existing ones, to ensure the safety of Tyson Foods products as new regulatory policies and research become available.
  • The Listeria Task Force is a group of Team Members involved with Tyson Foods’ ready-to-eat product facilities. Listeria monocytogenes can thrive in the ready-to-eat environment. Accordingly, ensuring our products are safe for consumers is a top priority. The Listeria Task Force’s main goal is to educate Team Members on proper implementation of the Sentinel Site Program® and the best practices for the control of Listeria monocytogenes. The Task Force sends out Food Safety Alerts to highlight some of the most vulnerable areas of the facilities.
  • The Equipment Safety and Cleanability Design Task Force is another cross-functional group within Tyson Foods. The goal of this task force is to improve the sanitary design, performance, and safety of the equipment used in our facilities. Working directly with our vendors, this task force strives to ensure every piece of equipment is designed to protect our Team Members from harm during operation, cleaning, and maintenance and our products by ensuring all equipment is easily and effectively cleaned through sanitary design.

The Task Force is part of Tyson Foods’ commitment to continual improvement. We have revised a number of our purchasing specifications for equipment such as conveyors, meat slicers, freezers, electrical enclosures, and packaging equipment to capture best-in-class design features. We have also modified our maintenance and sanitation policies to ensure best-in-class practices are maintained within each processing facility.

Tracking and Tracing Our Products
Our goal is to be world class in our ability to track and trace our products throughout our production and distribution channels. To this end, Tyson Foods developed an Enterprise Inventory Management (EIM) program. This program strengthens our ability to control product at both facility and distribution warehouses by giving our food-safety team a global view of inventory and the ability to hold or release product from anywhere via an Internet connection. It also allows our team to accurately track a product through our production and distribution locations, as well as improve our ability to automatically trace, by key indicators such as supplier and batch number, all ingredients that are a part of a finished product.

Should the need arise, it is imperative that we can effectively and efficiently identify and isolate a specific product. Our EIM program provides both the framework and technology that not only executes product retrieval in a matter of minutes, but also helps us better manage our ingredients and product inventories. In addition, our EIM program provides a real-time, global view of our product inventory level, status, and availability; direct link to inventory for the systematic holding and releasing of product; single detailed report on ingredients and the source of ingredients used in a product; foundational system for other business areas within Tyson Foods to collaborate, which will create an industry-leading EIM program; and means for ensuring our products meet customer requirements, maintain consumer confidence, and protect the trust consumers have in Tyson Foods and our brands.

Ingredient Sourcing
Tyson Foods’ Ingredient Sourcing Team is committed to providing “the world with trusted food products.” We partner with ingredient suppliers who share the same commitment. We spend more than $1 billion annually on major agricultural commodities and other ingredients that become part of our finished products, such as wheat, corn, rice, soy, dairy, and vegetables. This also includes ingredients that provide flavor, protect product integrity, promote food safety, and offer additional value to our customers.

While we do not disclose, for competitive reasons, specific details about the source of our ingredients, the majority of our operations are based in the U.S., and we purchase most of our ingredients from U.S.-based suppliers. In the event that we cannot source an ingredient domestically, our international ingredient suppliers must also ensure proper monitoring and testing of each ingredient to demonstrate they are safe and wholesome, and meet all known, applicable requirements for food safety.

As part of this process, all ingredient suppliers must comply with food safety regulations and standards applicable to their operations such as those set forth by USDA, FDA, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). Tyson Foods is also requiring its ingredient suppliers commit to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and gain certification against one of the benchmarked standards.

All ingredient suppliers are required to meet stringent requirements related to, but not limited to certificates of continuing guarantee; packaging descriptions and details; warehousing and storage information; names and certifications of co-packers or co-suppliers; documentation of various practices, programs, and procedures such as good agricultural practices, food defense programs, pest control, and recall procedures; identification of all allergens; and kosher certification, when applicable. To further ensure the ingredients we receive are safe, our suppliers must verify they can trace their ingredients to their point of origin. Tyson Foods also performs periodic audits of its ingredient suppliers’ facilities to ensure they meet our quality requirements.

Product Recalls
Product recalls can happen for many reasons, such as product mislabeling, the addition of an incorrect ingredient in a product, nonconformance to customer specifications, or contaminated products. In these situations, immediate action may be essential for protecting the health of the consumer.

It is for this reason Tyson Foods maintains an effective recall policy that provides guidelines for initiating, investigating, and conducting product recalls. If we become aware of a situation in which we suspect a product could adversely affect the health and safety of our consumers, we will initiate a voluntary product recall to carry out a timely and effective recovery of the product.

In addition, we conduct mock recalls with our processing facilities and our distribution teams. Mock recalls provide a methodology for practicing and evaluating our ability to recall finished products, ingredients, and packaging materials in a thorough and timely manner. They also help us identify opportunities for the continual improvement of our recall procedures.

During fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012, we initiated five voluntary product recalls.

  1. In August 2010, we recalled 380,000 pounds of sandwich and deli meat due to Listeria monocytogenes.
  2. We voluntarily recalled 131,300 pounds of ground beef in September 2011 when a product sample was found to contain E. coli O157:H7.
  3. In December 2011, we recalled 40,948 pounds of ground beef chuck when a product sample was found to contain E. coli O157:H7.
  4. We voluntarily recalled 70,500 pounds of canned Premium Chunk Chicken produced by a co-packer in July 2012 when it was discovered that some cans were mislabeled and actually contained Beef with Gravy.
  5. In October 2012, Tyson Foods recalled approximately 67,269 pounds of packages labeled Honey BBQ Flavored Boneless Chicken Wyngz because of misbranding and undeclared allergens. (Note: This recall occurred in Tyson Foods’ 2013 fiscal year but is included in this report because it happened on October 11, 2012, which is early in the 2013 fiscal year.)

Genetically Modified Organisms
Genetic modification is often used in crops, such as corn and soy, to improve key production aspects including yield, insect resistance, and drought tolerance. As this practice has become more common and widespread, customers and consumers have begun to ask about the potential effects of genetic modification on food safety. As noted in the Ingredient Sourcing section above, Tyson Foods’ only uses ingredients that meet the safety regulations set forth by USDA and FDA.

Tyson Foods does not currently distinguish between GMO and non-GMO when buying grain and meal for the purpose of blending chicken feed. There have been discussions by grain suppliers of segregating ingredients by seed origin; however, the proposed methods appear to be inadequate to ensure casual contact can be avoided and that ingredients can be guaranteed as non-GMO. Since a significant percent of the annual corn and soybean crops is of GM origin, it is likely we use GMO grain in feed for our chickens. It is important to note that we have no preference and there are no performance differences in GMO and non-GMO in the meat conversion process.

Just as in our feed ingredients, the major finished product ingredients with GMO questions are those derived from corn and soybeans. Since suppliers of breading, marinades, and spices have only recently begun to discuss segregation of ingredients, we must also assume that these products contain GMO. Common ingredients that could potentially contain GMO are corn flour, corn meal, corn starch, corn syrup, corn gluten, soybean oil, soy proteins, and soy meals.

We believe science is sound and supports the belief that the corn and soybeans used in virtually every segment of the food industry pose no near or long-term health risk to the consuming public. Furthermore, there is no advantage of any sort for Tyson Foods in the performance of either source.

Product Labeling
Our commitment to food safety does not end when our products leave our processing facilities. To help our customers and consumers make informed buying decisions, we strive to provide accurate and reliable ingredient statements for our food products. Our Regulatory Labeling Compliance and Product Specifications group ensures our products are packaged and labeled in accordance with our corporate product specifications and regulatory requirements related to ingredients, product formulation, nutrition information, and product claims, such as natural, whole grain, zero trans fat, and reduced fat.

This group not only maintains a working relationship with key Tyson Foods’ business units, such as research and development, marketing, and food safety and quality assurance, they also maintain collaborative relationships with the USDA, FSIS, Food Nutrition Service, and Agriculture Marketing Service to assure governmental approvals for our packaging and labeling.

Over the years, this group has been instrumental in our implementation of key labeling initiatives, including the mandatory nutrition labeling dictated by the Nutrition Labeling Education Act of 1993. This group was also instrumental in the company’s allergen labeling efforts. There are eight foods that account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, shellfish, and fish. To help our consumers make informed decisions, in 2001 – well ahead of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 – we proactively initiated labeling of packaged products that contain these allergens.

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