News | May 24, 1999

Tyson Partially Reopens Georgia Plant

A Tyson Foods Inc. plant in Buena Vista, GA, has partially reopened today after U.S. Department of Agriculture officials shutdown the plant last Thursday after suspecting that some slaughtered chickens may be contaminated with feces. The plant's slaughter operation remains shut down until plant officials show inspectors that the chicken was properly handled.

"When you find fecal material, you rework every bit of product that is in process at that point," said Ed Nicholson, Tyson corporate public relations manager. "The product was reworked but the paperwork was not done correctly. We needed to show that the product was reworked and present written proof of that fact."

In the meantime, the plant is deboning chicken that officials are certain were not contaminated, Tyson officials said. Nicholson said about 30,000-lb of chicken products are temporarily on hold pending clarification of the plant's documents.

"Tyson quality assurance personnel and the Buena Vista plant management are working closely with USDA officials to resolve the situation," stated a news release from the USDA. "The concerns are primarily related to documentation of some product being reworked as a result of testing with the plant's Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points programs."

Tyson operates 85 processing plants, 43 feed meals and 54 hatcheries in the U.S. and has joint ventures in Mexico, Canada and China.