The investment is part of an ongoing plan by Tyson to “maximise operational efficiencies”

The investment is part of an ongoing plan by Tyson to “maximise operational efficiencies”

US meat giant Tyson Foods has announced a "multi-million dollar" investment to improve operations at its beef plant in Nebraska.

The investment, part of an ongoing plan to "maximise operational efficiencies" across its business, will see "major improvements" made to its beef site in Dakota City.

The project is designed to upgrade or replace original parts of the plant, including technology designed to benefit animal handling, food safety, meat quality and workplace safety.

However, while the changes are expected to bolster the future of the Dakota City operation, the upgrade may lead to the closure of the company's small beef plant in Denison, Iowa, the firm said yesterday (1 March).

The Denison facility, which employs around 400 people, may close during 2013. Tyson said a 60- day notice period will be given to affected staff, who can "explore job opportunities at other Tyson locations".

The Dakota City project, which is already under way, is scheduled to be complete by mid-2013. It will include the construction of a new beef slaughter floor that will incorporate what Tyson claims are the latest sanitation and production systems. Improvements will also be made to the plant's beef carcass cooler, rendering and box handling operations, as well as employee lockers and cafeteria.

"Dakota City is our flagship plant and this investment means we expect it to continue to be one of our top performers and an important market outlet for the region's cattle producers," said Tyson Fresh Meats senior group vice president Noel White. "The improvements will help optimise the value of the plant's product mix for domestic and international customers and make the plant even more cost competitive."