Written by Suzanne Finstad, Vice President, Food Safety and Quality Assurance for Poultry at Tyson Foodss
Helping to feed the world is an awesome responsibility that I take very seriously.
That’s why food safety, and how we can constantly improve, is at the very top of my mind each day when I come to work at Tyson. And I know I’m not alone.
Tyson employs more than 2,700 food safety and quality assurance team members who are focused not only on making sure we produce safe food every day, but also on continuously improving the systems, processes and technologies we use to do it. They work alongside on-site federal inspectors who also verify the safety of our products.
In addition, we have a cross-functional team of scientists and operations experts who are always looking for new ways to improve our processes. They’ve made significant progress toward eliminating bacteria from our fresh chicken and preventing the inclusion of foreign objects in the food we produce. And we continue to do more. We continually evaluate and test new technologies, educate our team, audit our processes and look to innovate in areas of food safety. For example, earlier this year, our capital venture fund, Tyson Ventures, invested in Clear Labs, a start-up tech company focused on food safety.
Even with all that we do, we’re not perfect. On rare occasions, there are issues that arise where we recall product from the marketplace. We take these issues very seriously, and when they occur, we move quickly to notify those affected and take corrective action, because we want our consumers — which include your family and our own — to have the very best eating experience. We’re transparent about recalls. A page in our Sustainability Report lists past recall actions. In addition, we typically publish news releases about our recalls in our newsroom and information is always available from USDA. And, we learn from these recalls — making sure that we understand what happened and how we can improve our process to guard against it happening again.
It’s important to remember a few key things about food recalls:
- No one wants an issue to occur that causes us to recall a product. But when it does, we don’t hesitate to take action. This is part of our commitment to our core value of feeding our families, the nation and the world with trusted food.
- The food safety system works. When someone in the supply chain or a consumer raises a concern, we investigate and evaluate, moving quickly to recall product when it’s the right thing to do.
- A recall of our product is very rare. Given the amount of food we produce every week – about 66 million pounds of prepared foods alone, not including all the fresh food we make – the percentage of food involved in recalls is extremely small; I estimate less than a half of 1 percent in this past year.
Food safety is my number one priority at Tyson. It is a responsibility I take extremely seriously. I’ll never stop my efforts to drive improvements in our programs, and I know that neither will those working alongside me as part of the fantastic, dedicated team whose sole focus is to produce wholesome, safe food for millions of consumers, just like you.