The department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced a Clean Air Act settlement with Tyson and several of its affiliate corporations over accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia during incidents at facilities in four states.
"This settlement will protect workers at Tyson facilities throughout Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska that use anhydrous ammonia, and make the communities surrounding these 23 facilities safer," Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, said in a department release Friday.
Tyson will allow third-party audits of its current compliance with the CAA Risk Management Program requirements at all 23 facilities by auditors with expertise in ammonia refrigeration systems.
Anhydrous ammonia is a poisonous gas whose vapors can cause temporary blindness and eye damage, as well as irritation of the skin, mouth, throat and respiratory tract.
"Exposure to anhydrous ammonia can cause serious health issues, and in extreme cases, even death," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Today's settlement with Tyson Foods will ensure the proper safety practices are in place in the future to protect employees, first responders, and communities located near processing facilities from the threat of dangerous chemical releases."