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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 is central to everything we do.

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.

We view regulatory compliance as a critical deliverable within our systems, but 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 comprises 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.

A FSQA Team Dedicated to Excellence

In the U.S., our diverse FSQA team is comprised of more than 2,600 professionals dedicated to supporting operations at 139 facilities. Among them are experts in every area of food safety and quality assurance.

Food Safety and Quality Assurance at a Glance1

FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Food Safety and Quality Assurance Team Members 2,587 2,751 2,697
Certified Labs2 16 16 16
Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Certified Plants 108 106 113
Safe Quality Foods (SQF) Certified Plants 24 25 35
British Retail Consortium (BRC) Certified Plants 82 79 78

1This data includes our U.S. operations. These metrics do not include Keystone Foods.

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

Our high food safety standards are consistent across the world. As we make acquisitions, we hold integration meetings to merge Tyson Foods’ policies with those of acquired companies, adopting best-in-class practices as final policy. Each of our processing locations employs experts in food safety and quality assurance. Our Malaysia, Australia and China locations maintain microbiologists and manage in-house microbiology laboratories. The Malaysia and Thailand locations have experts in ensuring the production of Halal products. In addition, our Asia facilities routinely conduct food safety culture surveys and hold events to maintain a strong safety culture among all employees.

Food Safety Education & Professional Development

We provide all team members with the resources, knowledge, education, communication feedback loops and management support needed to maintain high FSQA standards. Aspects of our training approach include:

  • 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.

In addition to ongoing training, 309 individuals were trained on Introduction to Microbiology in 2019. We are also providing focused training on foreign material prevention, identification and reporting, an area in which we continue to strengthen our focus.

Investing in the Latest Food Safety 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 and participate in industry partnerships to find and develop solutions. These practices, in addition to data technology, ensure decision-making around FSQA protocols and procedures is driven by data and backed up by testing and research.

As a part of our continued effort to enhance food safety and quality across our supply chain, Tyson Ventures provided investor funding to FoodLogiQ, and uses FoodLogiQ Connect as our supplier management platform. The FoodLogiQ Connect Manage+Monitor module now serves as the communication portal for Tyson Foods suppliers. This platform has allowed enhanced visibility of our supply chain and is serving as the portal for our suppliers to share their FSQA documents and other important information. In addition to using FoodLogiQ as our FSQA reporting system for supplier compliance, Tyson Foods is working with them on system development to support overall supplier food safety and quality risk assessment.

The Tyson Foods FSQA Team

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 assessments 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 and development of FSQA policy, manages our Sentinel Site Program®, a rigorous method of testing for post-processing contamination, interacts with regulatory agencies and ensures policies are designed to meet or exceed regulatory requirements.

Focusing on Continuous Improvement

In FY2019, we experienced an increase in product recalls related to foreign material. As the USDA makes it easier for consumers to report concerns and raises its standards regarding when products must be recalled, this matter affects all in the food industry. It is not an issue Tyson Foods takes lightly, and over the past year, we have greatly increased our focus on foreign object detection and exclusion, creating dedicated task forces within each of our businesses.

Actions we are taking include expanding our use of metal detection and x-ray technology, and exploring the use of advanced technologies such as vision systems and hyperspectral imaging. Technologies like these have been used in other applications, such as evaluating product grade, and we believe there is great potential to enhance our ability to detect foreign material. Beyond investing in new technologies, we are also improving existing equipment to reduce foreign material risk. Our teams apply failure mode and effects analysis to understand where failures occur during the manufacturing process—then modify the process to correct the issue. This work requires collaboration across our business and supply chain, including consultation with equipment vendors on possible modifications; reviews with engineering, maintenance and food safety teams; and team member training to increase awareness of the importance of foreign material reduction. We have added dedicated resources in each of our businesses to empower all team members to speak up about potential risks related to foreign material. Over the past year, we have greatly increased our focus on foreign object detection and exclusion, creating dedicated task forces and further enhancing the food safety culture within each of our businesses. We believe preventive actions taken over the past year will amount to significant improvements on this front over time.

Developing & Sharing FSQA Best Practices

We are an industry leader in the sharing of best FSQA practices and standards, including with the British Retail Consortium (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 Foods team members serve in leadership positions on the GFSI board and BRC Global Standards International Advisory Board. We also participate with and support the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research. Our food safety and regulatory team members have also been recognized as industry leaders in developing best practices for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Tyson Foods is also an active participant in multiple trade associations that promote collaboration with industry food safety partners and are performing cross-industry research. Multiple FSQA team members hold committee leadership roles in these organizations. In addition to sharing their expertise with others, team members are strengthening their own knowledge by pursuing professional certifications and advanced degrees related to food science and food safety, with Tyson Foods’ support.