Tag Archives: hog

Arkansas-based meat processor Tyson Foods is suing a federal agency for $2.4 million, saying it had to destroy 8,000 carcasses because a federal meat inspector lied about checking hogs at a plant in Iowa.

Yolanda Thompson, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service, signed certificates suggesting she had checked slaughtered hogs at the Storm Lake plant in March 2018, Tyson said. The company noted that video footage indicated Thompson never entered the plant and actually approved the inspections while sitting in her automobile.

Tyson filed suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Sioux City alleging the USDA and Food Safety Inspection Service knew of Thompson’s inadequate inspection practices and physical difficulties walking around the plant, the Sioux City Journal reported.

“The United States should have recognized Thompson’s unfitness to perform the inspections that were necessary for the protection of Tyson’s property. However, the United States failed to so recognize, resulting in the destruction of approximately 8,000 hog carcasses, causing injury to Tyson,” the company said in the lawsuit.

Inspectors are mandated to visually examine all hogs slaughtered at the plant to decide whether they have health conditions that could make them unsuitable for human consumption.

On March 26, 2018, Tyson killed roughly 4,622 hogs at the Storm Lake plant, and Thompson gave signed inspection cards to plant supervisors. The lawsuit states that plant administrators were told by Food Safety staffers the next day that Thompson had not executed the inspections. On March 30, 2018, the USDA declared that it was not feasible to determine whether the hogs that had not been checked were subject to any health conditions that would have led to disapproval of the carcasses.

Tyson had no choice but to destroy about 8,000 carcasses, which included the inspected and uninspected, the lawsuit said.

USDA and Tyson officials declined to comment.

With the official report coming late last week that the island province of Hainan was positive for African swine fever (ASF), China is now essentially ASF-positive in its entirety. In the west, Xinjiang was found to be positive in early April, followed shortly by Tibet. The only areas not known to be ASF-positive now are the city-based zones of Hong Kong and Macau, which are in the extreme south of China.

Since its discovery in China in August 2018, Rabobank estimates that ASF has affected 150 million to 200 million pigs, which is nearly 30% larger than annual U.S. pork production and equivalent to Europe’s annual pork supply. These losses cannot easily be replaced by other proteins (chicken, duck, seafood, beef and lamb), nor will larger imports be able to fully offset the loss. The firm believes this will result in a net supply gap of almost 10 million metric tons in the total 2019 animal protein supply, which could be a leading driver of recent pork import announcements.

Cambodia Joins Vietnam as ASF-Positive

The recent notice by the OIE, which flagged Cambodia as being positive for ASF, revealed that 400 pigs died from the disease and another 100 pigs were culled. The outbreak is in the northeastern-most Rattanakiri province bordering Vietnam, which was itself found to be ASF-positive on Feb. 19.

Most of Vietnam’s 556 cases of ASF outbreak have occurred in this northern area. Some Vietnamese officials have said that the virus may have entered the country via people who brought infected pigs from China or from China-made hog feed.

In a report by the World Organization for Animal Health last week, South Africa now has a case of ASF outside of its ASF control zone (in blue area on map beyond red line of control zone). The announcement was triggered by news of a small pig farm in the country’s North West province where 32 of 36 pigs died. Since this was outside of South Africa’s control zone for the disease, contact with infected wild pigs is suspected.