As part of its ongoing commitment to providing families with high-quality food products, Tyson Foods, Inc., the nation's leader in poultry production, broke ground yesterday on a state-of-the- art, $5.2 million food safety laboratory expansion in Springdale, Ark. The new facility will more than double the size of the existing facility with a 17,500-square-foot expansion, dramatically increasing Tyson's testing capabilities by allowing for the implementation of new "high tech" procedures, which are not possible in the current laboratory.

Tyson Foods has one of the most sophisticated laboratory services systems in the food industry. The USDA-certified Corporate Laboratory currently has capabilities that range from nutritional analyses to residue analyses to pathogen detection.

"This lab and its expansion is yet another example of our commitment to remaining the leader in food safety," said Tyson Chairman, CEO and President, John Tyson. "The capabilities of this new facility and our expanded commitment to research will ensure that our products remain among the safest and most wholesome available."

The lab expansion, projected to be complete by autumn, 2002, will give Tyson an even greater depth and breadth of capabilities in efficiently and expediently managing food safety and food quality issues. The building's architectural design will offer Tyson Foods the technical resources and support necessary for an innovative food company.

In addition, the facility's training capacity will more than double, providing immediate, on-site technical training in microbiology, food chemistry and other technical areas. Tyson's Corporate Laboratory and Research Services will provide training for Tyson laboratory personnel from 59 laboratory facilities, as well as HACCP coordinators and Quality Assurance management.

Tyson's new Corporate Laboratory and Research Services will accommodate a state-of-the-art food microbiology research center to conduct microbiological pathogen challenge and lethality studies. The microbiology department also will utilize a battery of rapid procedures, which will increase the efficiency and accuracy of testing, while decreasing turn-around time. New DNA-based technology will be incorporated that will enable the microbiology department to differentiate microbial strains according to genetic composition. The new expanded Chemistry department will analyze samples detecting trace compounds to limits of parts per trillion. Chemistry research will be capable of evaluating rapid analytical protocols to meet nutritional labeling and other regulatory requirements.

With the integration of new equipment and technology, the facility will be utilized to test samples from 68 Tyson production facilities nationwide. Emphasis will be placed on the following areas:

  • Increased evaluation of new and innovative microbiological interventions that will provide additional food safety and food quality for Tyson products
  • Shelf life evaluations on new Tyson products
  • Expanded nutritional analyses for food products and poultry rations
  • Expanded research on pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and Campylobacter
  • Environmental soil and water testing
  • Isolation and identification of chemical compounds at the part/trillion level
  • Pathogen lethality studies
  • Microbiological challenge studies
  • Allergen testing
  • Expanded pesticide and feed ingredient testing

The Tyson Laboratories form a service-oriented technical support system that serves many departments throughout the Tyson organization. Tyson Corporate Laboratory and Research Services provide unsurpassed excellence in technical support to Live Production, Sales and Marketing, Research and Development, Processing Facilities, Quality Assurance Department, and many others.

Tyson Foods, Inc., headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, is the world's largest fully integrated producer, processor and marketer of chicken and chicken-based convenience foods, with 68,000 team members and 7,000 family farmers in more than 100 communities. Tyson has operations in 18 states and 16 countries and exports to 79 countries worldwide. Tyson is the recognized market leader in almost every retail and foodservice market it serves. Through its Cobb-Vantress subsidiary, Tyson is also a leading chicken breeding stock supplier. In addition, Tyson is the nation's second largest maker of corn and flour tortillas under the Mexican Original® brand, as well as a leading provider of live swine.

CONTACT: Ed Nicholson, Director of Media and Community Relations, 501-290-4591, or ed.nicholson@tyson.com.