Study indicates millions of pounds of pollution from Tyson Foods

May 9, 2024

A study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists (USC) states Tyson Foods released 371 million pounds of pollutants into waterways.

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Read the full USC report on Tyson’s pollution

Tyson Foods reportedly released hundreds of millions of pounds of pollutants from its slaughterhouses and processing plants across the United States.

According to a study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists (USC), between 2018 and 2022 Tyson Foods released 371.72 million pounds of pollutants into waterways across the United States. The report stated that over half of the pollutant load concentrated in three states: Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri.

USC used publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to estimate the quantity and geospatial distribution of Tyson’s water discharges from 2018 to 2022. The investigation included Tyson facilities that piped wastewater directly into waterways, threatening surface and groundwater quality.

USC reports that between 2018 and 2022, pollutants from 41 Tyson-owned meat processing plants included 138.07 million pounds of chlorides, 82.51 million pounds of dissolved solids and 40.26 million pounds of sulfates.

Although these contaminants are naturally present in trace amounts, excessive concentrations in surface waters can be detrimental to water quality and can contaminate drinking water.

The report states that discharges directly from meat processing plants are only a fraction of the meat processing industry’s overall water pollution, and the analysis is likely a drastic underestimation of Tyson’s true impact.

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