Meat company Smithfield Foods has received praise from the Environmental Protection Agency as the first in its industry to achieve ISO 14001 environmental certification for all its US hog production and all US livestock processing facilities.

Jon Scholl, counselor to the EPA's administrator for agricultural policy, said, in a ceremony held recently in Washington, DC, that by achieving ISO 14001 certification for its facilities Smithfield jumps to the top tier of the MAPS program and provides a leadership model for others in the industry to follow.

The MAPS Program is the American Meat Institute's four-tiered environmental management system which focuses on helping the meat and poultry industry develop Environmental Management Systems.

"Implementing this level of EMS requires top level commitment and empowerment, plus the active involvement of all Smithfield employees at all the facilities," said Scholl.

During the event in Washington, Smithfield Foods officials announced the company has achieved its aggressive goal of ISO 14001 certification for all Environmental Management Systems in its US-based hog production and all its US pork and beef processing facilities, except recent acquisitions.

"For years Smithfield has been recognized as the leader in the meat industry, and now we're also being recognized as the industry leader in environmental stewardship," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief operating officer of Smithfield Foods. "ISO certification acknowledges that Smithfield is meeting a stringent set of internationally respected environmental management standards."