2018 Sustainability Report

Food Safety & Quality

We’re making high-quality food safely by fostering a culture that puts food safety first and by maintaining the expertise to ensure that safety.

Making Food Safety & Quality Our Number-One Priority

Our products and processes are developed to integrate safety, quality and continuous improvement at every touchpoint – supply chain, ingredient sourcing, product preparation, storage and delivery to our customers and consumers. This holistic approach to guaranteeing the safety and quality of our food is what guides our work.

While we view regulatory compliance as a critical deliverable within our systems, continuous improvement of food safety is much more. We’re dedicated to integrating food safety within our sustainability framework to find ‘win-win’ opportunities to extend safety across our value chain – from the delivery of food to consumers to the safety of our team members, the environment and the animals within our supply chain.

As a result, our food safety and quality assurance (FSQA) professional network is comprised of thousands of operations, engineering, supply chain and procurement team members who co-own food safety and quality. This integrated approach leads to a critical mass of food safety ownership, innovation and execution of our processes.

Food safety

FSQA support person
FSQA stats

A FSQA Team Dedicated to Excellence

Over 2,500 food safety professionals comprise our diverse FSQA team spanning 27 states and 126 facilities*. Among them are experts in every area of food safety and quality assurance, including:

  • Plant FSQA Management and Management Support: Each plant is staffed with a team that is trained to verify compliance with FSQA programs. • Laboratory Services: A network of corporate, regional and field laboratories that provide analytical services to processing plants and other divisions with chemical- and biological-based analyses.
  • Statistics Group: Corporate statisticians and statistical process control specialists who develop sampling plans and analyze data to determine statistical significance as well as providing on-site assessment of process control needs to drive ongoing process improvements and development of monitoring tools.
  • Corporate FSQA Management: Oversees plant FSQA staff; develops FSQA programs and policies; interacts with our teams in sales, marketing, product development, operations, and distribution; and works with regulators and customers.
  • Corporate Regulatory Compliance: Oversees compliance auditing, assists with Global Food Safety Initiative Certification, development of FSQA policy, manages our Sentinel Site Program® – a rigorous method for testing for post-processing contamination, interacts with regulatory agencies and ensures policies are designed to meet or exceed regulatory requirements.

Food Safety Training & Professional Development

We integrate safety into everything we do. We provide all team members with the resources, knowledge, training, communication feedback loops and management support needed to maintain high FSQA standards, including:

  • Requiring each team member, regardless of their role, to participate in our annual FSQA awareness training.
  • Establishing the expectation that team members who handle food at our facilities will bring anything they see on the job that indicates a potential safety risk or quality issue to the attention of their supervisor.
  • Conducting regular walk-throughs by management at each facility with individual team members to proactively address current and future FSQA issues.
professional development

Investing in the Latest FSQA Technology

We approach the management of our FSQA systems from a holistic perspective, addressing the root cause of larger issues rather than reacting in silos to isolated incidents. To facilitate this approach, we invest in the latest FSQA technology. This includes general technology, such as x-ray; natural antimicrobials (e.g., bacteria phage); and industry partnerships to find and develop solutions, including vision equipment and new sampling technologies. These examples, in addition to data technology, ensure decision-making around FSQA protocols and procedures is driven by data and backed up by testing and research.

In 2018, Tyson Fresh Meats collaborated with industry, academic and government partners in food safety innovation, including sampling technology and sustainable antimicrobial reduction strategies for industry use and overall improvements in food safety for all. Some of the documentation around the controls used by our FSQA team is still done in analog format. As a part of our continued effort to enhance food safety and quality across our supply chain, we selected a new Supplier Management platform, FoodLogiQ Connect.

Using FoodLogiQ was the natural progression after our food and safety team joined other food industry leaders as a participant in FoodLogiQ Lab’s new blockchain pilot. Tyson Ventures provided investor funding to FoodLogiQ as part of the company’s recent financing.

The new platform will serve as a portal for our suppliers to share important business information and FSQA documents with our FSQA and supply chain teams. FoodLogiQ will also host the new FSQA reporting system for supplier compliance. We’re currently working with the FoodLogiQ team on the system configuration, and full launch is planned for 2019.

The Food Safety Chain


  • Feeding Animals

    Independent farmers raise the chickens we use in our food product. We provide and deliver healthy chicks and nutritious, safe feed to these farmers. Our service technicians and veterinarians assist the farmers in monitoring conditions, environment, and feed.

    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.

  • Transportation

    Drivers are trained in food safety needs for transporting live animals and finished products.

  • At the Plant

    Food Safety and Operations teams trained frequently in best practices

    Rigorous testing conducted throughout processing

    Internal and third-party audits to ensure safe food practices

  • In the Store

    Training for retailers, food distributors, restauranteurs and other business owners

    Products provided with accurate, informative labeling for safe handling, nutrition and ingredients

  • At the Table

    Strong support for services like the Fight Bac!® program of the Partnership for Food Safety Education

Developing & Sharing FSQA Best Practices

We are an industry leader in the development and sharing of best FSQA practices and standards, including the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8, a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)-approved scheme aimed at the continuous improvement of food safety management systems. Tyson team members were active participants on the BRC Global Standards Technical Advisory Committee and the BRC North American Working Group. The working groups were tasked with the development of the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 released in August 2018.

Tyson food safety and regulatory team members have been recognized as industry leaders in developing best practices for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). For FY2018, Tyson Foods was asked to present on the FSMA at the Tortilla Industry Association Meeting and to participate on a FSMA panel at the BRC Global Standards annual conference.

Food Safety & Quality Assurance At A Glance1
FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
Food Safety & Quality Assurance Team Members 2,592 2,587 2,751
Certified Labs2 13 16+ 16
Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Certified Plants 99 108 106
Safe Quality Foods (SQF) Level 3 Certified Plants 13 24 23
Safe Quality Foods (SQF) Level 2 Certified Plants 1 0 2
British Retail Consortium (BRC) Certified Plants 83 82 793
Food Safety System Certification (FSSC)
22000 Certified Plants
2 2 2
Product Recalls4 2
(Hot Wings,
Chicken Nuggets)
(Popcorn Chicken,
Chicken Patties)
(Food Service
Chicken Product)
global standards for food production

1 These metrics do not include Keystone Foods or Tecumseh Poultry LLC.

2 Our certifications include A2LA 17025 and ISO 9001-2015 as well as state certified labs at some of our beef and pork plants.

3 There are three fewer BRC certified plants in FY2018 due to plant sales and closure.

4 In 2018, we voluntarily recalled 260 cases of Tyson Foodservice chicken product after being notified by a supplier that an ingredient sent to Tyson Foods may contain pieces of blue and clear soft plastic. This ensured that no affected product was sold in stores. Tyson Foods received no reports of illnesses associated with the affected product, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has classified this as a Class II recall with a low health risk.