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Over the past five years, American meat processor Tyson Foods has discharged millions of pounds of hazardous pollutants directly into American rivers and lakes, The Guardian reports. This poses a significant threat to vital ecosystems and jeopardizing both wildlife and human well-being.

Why you need to know this:

When companies discharge pollutants into rivers and lakes on a large scale, flora and fauna are seriously threatened.

Among these pollutants were nitrogen, phosphorus, chloride, oil, and cyanide, constituting a total of 371 million pounds released into water bodies by just 41 Tyson slaughterhouses and large-scale processing plants between 2018 and 2022.

Research conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) indicates that these contaminants were distributed within 87 billion gallons of wastewater, which also includes blood, bacteria, and animal waste, and subsequently discharged directly into streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands crucial for drinking water, fishing, and recreational activities. The UCS analysis, exclusively shared with The Guardian, is founded on the most recent publicly accessible water pollution data that Tyson is obligated to report under existing regulations. The volume of wastewater discharged equates to approximately 132,000 Olympic-size pools, according to an analysis conducted by The Guardian.

Despite repeated requests for comment, Tyson did not provide a response.

Shareholder of a Dutch company

Recently, Tyson Foods became shareholder of Dutch company Protix. In a joint press release, Tyson and Protix reported that an investment of 55 million (which partly came from Tyson) is to support the growth of the emerging insect ingredient industry “and expand the use of insect solutions, creating more efficient sustainable proteins and fats for use in the global food system.”