A federal court in Springfield, Missouri sentenced Tyson Poultry Inc. to pay a $2 million criminal fine, serve two years of probation and pay $500,000 to directly remedy the harm caused when it violated the Clean Water Act.
The charges stemmed from discharges at Tyson’s slaughter and processing facility in Monett, Missouri that led to a major fish kill incident.
Tyson Poultry is the largest chicken producer in the United States.
Court records show that Tyson Poultry’s conviction arose out of a spill at its feed mill in Aurora, Missouri, where it mixed ingredients to produce chicken feed. One ingredient was a liquid food supplement called “Alimet,” which is a very strong acid with a pH of less than one. In May 2014, the tank used to store Alimet at the Aurora feed mill sprang a leak. Tyson had the spilled substance transported to its Monett plant where the Alimet was then discharged into the sewers and flowed into the City of Monett municipal waste water treatment plant. The Alimet killed bacteria used to reduce ammonia in discharges from the treatment plant. As a result, more ammonia was released from the plant into Clear Creek, and approximately 108,000 fish were killed.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Tyson Poultry agreed to retain an independent, third-party auditor to examine environmental compliance at Tyson Poultry facilities across the country; conduct specialized environmental training at all of its poultry processing plants, hatcheries, feed mills, rendering plants, and waste water treatment plants; and implement improved policies and procedures to address the circumstances that gave rise to these violations.