Tyson Packing Plant

“I’m very proud of this operation but I’m probably most proud of the people. People come from all over the world to work here and they take a lot of pride in feeding the world.”- Jason Poole, Complex Manager

In the small town of Dakota City, Nebraska across the Missouri River from Sioux City, Iowa, sits one of six Tyson Fresh Meats beef packing plants. The plant employs over 4,200 team members who all make sure the process is safe for food, animals and people alike. From the time the animals arrive until the final beef products are shipped, these standards are carefully followed and acted upon.

Check out the video below and read more about the Tyson Fresh Meats Beef Plant.

Q&A with Tyson fresh meats:

Tell us about the team at your plant.

Jason Poole (JP) “We have 4,200 team members that work here at the plant. That consists of hourly workers that are working on the line, a large group of specialized positions dedicated to food safety and quality assurance, dedicated safety team members, dedicated ergonomic team members, and we also have folks dedicated to animal well-being, ensuring we’re doing right by the animals entrusted to us.”

What’s the difference between a packing plant today vs 20 years ago?

Jennifer Williams (JW) “In the last 20 years, the amount of detail that goes into the measurement and testing of our food safety performance has dramatically increased.”

Tell us more about the electronic grading camera and why that is used at the packing plant?

JP “One of the most innovative technologies recently released at packing plants is the electronic grading camera, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the agency that administers the federal beef grading program) in 2001. This camera is essentially a computerized camera that allows us to apply official USDA quality grades to each carcass to make sure that if that carcass is grading Prime, Choice or Select – which are different levels of quality – that each carcass is graded with consistency. This is a huge benefit to the end consumer, to make sure that they get a consistently graded cut of beef each time they order it.”

What steps do you take to ensure animal safety and health?

Lora Wright “With my team, the office of well-being, we design the facility with animal safety in mind. Once we receive the cattle at a processing facility, the cattle are typically penned where they have access to water and the opportunity to lay down if they so choose.”

Tell us how you use Beef Quality Assurance at your packing plant and what measures and procedures are in place from a food safety perspective.

JW “Food safety is one of our top priorities in this business along with the safety of our workers. There’s hundreds of thousands of tests that are completed each year to ensure the beef leaving the plant is safe.”

If you could ask consumers to “rethink” what they believe about beef– what’s the one thing you’d want them to think about again?

JW “Many of us eat the product that we produce every day and we feed it to our friends and our family. This is what America is and I just really enjoy it.”

JP “I would want people to rethink how much work and dedication it takes to get an animal from farm to plate. We’re pretty proud of that.”

Tyson Packing Plant

Dakota City, NE

packing plant

Once cattle reach market weight, they are sent to a packing plant (also called a processing facility). United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors oversee the implementation of safety, animal welfare and quality standards from the time animals enter the plant until the final beef products are shipped to grocery stores and restaurants.

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