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By Susan Heavey and Theopolis Waters
WASHINGTON and CHICAGO, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc’s poultry unit on Wednesday pleaded guilty in federal court to two criminal charges stemming from discharged feed supplement at a company facility in Missouri, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Tyson Poultry Inc had been charged with violating the Clean Water Act in the 2014 event, and agreed to pay a $2 million criminal fine, serve two years of probation and pay $500,000 to help clean up affected waters, the department said in a statement.
Tyson, a top U.S. poultry processor, said it accepted full responsibility and would take immediate corrective action for the accidental release of an animal feed ingredient into the City of Monett’s wastewater treatment system. The discharge disrupted the system and killed fish in a nearby stream, Tyson said in a statement.
The guilty plea came about a week after Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies, put on hold plans to build a $320 million poultry processing plant across the border in Tonganoxie, Kansas, following protests by residents and complaints from surrounding communities.
Among the issues raised by those opposed to the plant was the possible environmental impact from the state-of-the art facility that would have employed 1,600 workers and slaughtered roughly 1.25 million birds weekly.
At mid-afternoon, Tyson Foods shares were down 0.7 percent at $66.28 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Theopolis Waters in Chicago.; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)