EPA praises Smithfield Foods for environmental leadership

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials are praising the environmental stewardship efforts of Smithfield Foods, Inc. as the first in its industry to achieve ISO 14001 environmental certification for all its U.S. hog production and all U.S. livestock processing facilities...

WASHINGTON, DC, May 2, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials are praising the environmental stewardship efforts of Smithfield Foods, Inc. as the first in its industry to achieve ISO 14001 environmental certification for all its U.S. hog production and all U.S. livestock processing facilities.

Jon Scholl, counselor to the EPA's administrator for agricultural policy, said, in a ceremony held recently in Washington, D.C., 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 (EMS).

"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. "It also requires a large amount of roll-up-the-sleeves-and-work by those employees to understand the environmental footprint of their operations, and to look for innovative ways to reduce that footprint and to put in place the systems of continuous improvement that will lead to real results. In my view that's a better way in real world action and it supports the vision for agriculture and the food industry that I have, the agency has and that we all share."

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 (EMSs) in its U.S.-based hog production and all its U.S. pork and beef processing facilities, except recent acquisitions.

ISO 14001 is the international gold standard for environmental management. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, promotes the development and implementation of voluntary international standards for environmental management systems. A facility receiving ISO certification has implemented environmental management systems that include formalized practices to protect the environment.

Said Don Welsh, administrator for the EPA's Region Three, "An important part of what we do is to catch people doing something wrong. But another thing I really like to do, and I think gets us just as much benefit for the environment, is to catch people doing something right. And I'd really like to thank Smithfield for doing something right by stepping forward to implement EMSs and to get ISO certification. It helps all of us, all of society, all the folks who care about the environment get what they want -- a healthy environment and a healthy economy."

To obtain ISO certification a company must meet a rigorous and comprehensive set of requirements and criteria developed by more than 2,000 experts worldwide. The certification process is conducted by an accredited third-party auditor and ensures that anyone receiving certification has mechanisms in place to ensure, and move beyond, environmental compliance.

Chuck Kent, the director of the EPA's office of Business and Community Innovation, congratulated Smithfield for the tremendous amount of work it had done to achieve ISO certification, and said, "Think of the EMS as the window into the organization and the kind of thinking that's going on within that organization. If you watch this over the next few years, I think you'll see some amazing things from this company."

"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," said Pope.

In 2001 Smithfield voluntarily began implementing a comprehensive Environmental Management System on all of its Murphy-Brown hog farms. Subsequently, Murphy-Brown, Smithfield's livestock production subsidiary, was the world's first livestock production company to receive ISO certification of its EMS.

An EMS is a management tool that provides an organized approach to identifying and managing those parts of the company's operations that could affect the environment, including manure handling, waste treatment systems, water conservation, sanitation and good housekeeping practices.

"Earning ISO 14001 environmental certification is a major accomplishment for Smithfield and our dedicated employees," said Dennis Treacy, vice president of environmental, community and government affairs for Smithfield Foods. "We commend our employees for their hard work in helping Smithfield companies achieve our environmental goals."

With sales of $10 billion, Smithfield Foods is the leading processor and marketer of fresh pork and processed meats in the United States, as well as the largest producer of hogs. For more information, please visit www.smithfieldfoods.com.

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