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Tyson Foods sues USDA over negligent inspections at Storm Lake, IA plant

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) – Tyson Foods and Tyson Fresh Meats have filed suit, in federal court, against the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging negligence in USDA inspections of hogs being slaughtered at the company’s Storm Lake, Iowa, plant.

Tyson claims a fraudulent inspection, in March of 2018, cost the company $2.4-million.

The suit centers around inspections done, at the Storm Lake plant, on March 26th, 2018, by Food Safety Inspections Service (FSIS) inspector Dr. Yolanda Thompson. The USDA trains, and supervises, FSIS inspectors.

Attorneys for Tyson allege that, on March 26, 2018, Thompson failed to conduct an inspection of 4,622 hogs before they were slaughtered at Tyson’s Storm Lake plant. Attorneys say video footage shows Thompson never entered the pre-slaughter holding area to perform an in-person visual inspection of the hogs. In fact, Tyson attorneys say she actually sat in her vehicle, signed the inspection cards, and submitted them without ever inspecting the hogs to be slaughtered.

Court documents say Tyson officials found out about Thompson’s actions the next day. By then, the hog carcasses Thompson failed to inspect had been moved into an area that now contained about 8,000 hog carcasses. Tyson officials say it was impossible to know which ones Thompson failed to inspect, so company officials had to destroy them.

Attorneys for Tyson say the inspector’s negligence cost the company $2.4-million.

They also claim the USDA knew about deficiencies in Thompson’s inspection practices, and did nothing about it.

Attorneys for Tyson want a judge to award them at least $2.4-million in damages, and all other relief the court sees necessary.

Matt Breen

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