You Are What You Eat? Local Coalition Calls Out Tyson Foods Tycoon

By Morgan Lawrence

Consumers recognize Tyson’s quick and easy frozen foods with their family friendly advertisements that show a bag of frozen chicken tenders filling a family of four. Although their products don’t dent your funds, they can deter your health. New Orleans’ Mighty Earth coalition decided to take action against pollution in the Gulf of Mexico from Tyson’s meat production. Under the nation’s largest meat company, other Tyson brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farms and Sara Lee.

Mighty Earth held a press conference at Grow On Urban Farms on Urquhart Street. Field Organizer, Audrey Beedle, shared that they wrote a detailed letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Tyson Foods, Inc., Tom Hayes. They asked for rapid action against the main source of water pollution in the United States, which is the meat industry, including its feeding supply. In their letter to Hayes, the coalition wrote, “Pollution from raising meat is contaminating drinking water across the Midwest and flowing downstream along the Mississippi River into the Gulf Coast; where it causes a massive dead zone every summer- an area so polluted that marine life cannot survive.”

In addition, the most impact from the pollution comes from over-produced animal feed to raise the meat, which increases soil erosion that deteriorates natural landscape buffers; which leads to excess fertilizer use.

Beedle made it clear that this campaign against pollution is not a boycott against Tyson Foods, Inc. Mighty Earth did an independent investigation on nitrate pollution in the Gulf of Mexico that affected our seafood and drinking water; that led them up the corporate ladder to Tyson. Mighty Earth offered solutions to decrease the contamination like optimizing fertilizer application; protecting and restoring natural landscape buffers; and cropping tillage practices to prevent soil erosion.

Other local organizations on board with Mighty Earth include the Gulf Restoration Network, the New Orleans Food and Farm Network, Loyola Association of Students for Sustainability and the Louisiana Shrimp Association.

“A time bound commitment” drives the hope for Mighty Earth to get Tyson to acknowledge the damage of their pollution. In their letter to Chief Executive Officer Hayes, November 17, 2017 is the response deadline.

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