Tyson Foods Calls Mighty Earth’s Claims “Misleading”

By Morgan Lawrence

Mighty Earth still has their appetite for accountability against Tyson Foods and its CEO, Tom Hayes. The group says the food giant’s manufacturing practices are polluting the Gulf of Mexico. Mighty Earth held in late November on the riverfront at Woldenberg Park.

Tyson Foods is the largest meat production company in the United States and the second largest in the world with brands like Sara Lee, Jimmy Dean, and Hillshire Farm under its umbrella.

Mighty Earth led nation-wide environment awareness protests in California, New York, Rhode Island and Washington and is now calling on Tyson Foods to set an example for other meat companies.

Mighty Earth campaign organizer, Audrey Beedle, was joined by Thomas Olander, chairman of the Louisiana Shrimp Association; Kendall Dix, Fisheries Associate from the Gulf Restoration Network, and nine Mighty Earth volunteers as the November rain fell on them.

Olander addressed the crisis the Gulf of Mexico faces.

“We have two-thirds less of the amount of shrimp because of the 10,000 square mile ‘dead zone’ area.” Mighty Earth alleges that  Tyson uses the Gulf of Mexico as a garbage disposal for their meat production, which has created harmed marine life.

Dix followed Olander adding how the Gulf of Mexico feeds the nation. According to Dix, the Dead Zone is roughly the size of New Jersey. He added that “forty percent of the nation’s seafood is caught in the Gulf of Mexico.” Dix also mentioned how boats have to burn more gas to find a lesser amount of fish. Thus, adding more polluted fuel to the fire.

But a representative from Tyson says the food manufacturer is doing all it can to protect the environment, adding that the Tyson believes Mighty Earth’s claims are misleading and misdirected.

“We’re committed to doing our part to address concerns about pollution from crops, but believe any real progress must involve a broad coalition of interests, not just a single company,” says Tyson’s Manager of External Communications, Caroline Ahn.  “Tyson Foods has made significant progress over the years using grain more efficiently in our chicken business. We will continue to talk to farmers, academic experts, government regulators and environmental groups about additional improvements in how grain is produced and used. This group is making misleading claims about our company. For example, their focus is pollution from crop production, but they overlook the many ways crops are used including human consumption, biofuel (ethanol) and exports.”

Ahn shares the concern of environmental pollution but believes Tyson Foods does not solely contribute harmful waste to the environment.

Mighty Earth will send a gift this holiday season to Tom Hayes at Tyson headquarters: a box containing 1285 signed petitions for a cleaner Gulf of Mexico.