Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Ark., said it its Vernon, Texas, bacon facility held special team member meals to mark its 90th anniversary on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Since 1922, the Vernon plant is the sole location to produce Wright Brand Bacon, a regional favorite. Officials said Tyson’s Vernon plant and supporting operations employ more than 800 team members and had a payroll of about $31 million in 2011. The plant produces thick-cut bacon for retail sale under the Wright Brand label and custom-cut bacon for food service customers. The plant spends around $4 million each year on utilities and is the second largest employer in Vernon.

Meat processorWest Liberty Foods, L.L.C., West Liberty, Iowa, said its Tremonton, Utah, achieved 'landfill free' status. This status was independently verified byNSF International Strategic Registrations Ltd.(NSF-ISR). Officials said West Liberty Foods is among the first U.S. companies to have its 'landfill free' claim verified by a third-party organization. The NSF-ISR verification process was used to ensure that West Liberty Foods could demonstrate the total waste from its Tremonton facility entering the landfill was less than the industry acceptable 1 percent. Through working to accomplish this status, West Liberty Foods said its Tremonton facility successfully diverted nearly 3.5 million pounds of annual waste from the local landfill.

West Liberty Foods said it plans to duplicate the 'landfill free' program in its remaining facilities located in Mount Pleasant, Iowa and West Liberty, Iowa. West Liberty Foods is a leading co-packer, private label manufacturer, and foodservice supplier of sliced deli meats and fully cooked IQF products. T

Refrigerated fresh-cut processorGills Onions, Oxnard, Calif., said it achieved SQF 2000 Level 3 accreditation for Comprehensive Food Safety and Quality Management Systems this month. The SQF 2000 program is a three-tier certification system for food manufacturers that recognizes companies who implement HACCP-based management systems and best practices to meet food safety legislation.

Just one of Gills Onions’ many food safety audits, the SQF certification program is administered by the SQF Institute (SQFI), a division of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). After being awarded the SQF 2000 Level 2 accreditation in December 2010, Gills Onions implemented a Food Quality Plan, not required at SQF Levels 1 and 2, that underwent evaluation and obtained SQF 2000 Level 3 accreditation in December 2011. In order to obtain level 3 certification, the Food Marketing Institute requires that an organization develop a Food Quality Plan that outlines ways in which food quality will be maintained, including standard operating practices, work instructions that adhere to the level 3 certification standards, and process controls to monitor deviations from normal operations. In addition, the plan is required to include feedback from a food quality risk analysis and actions that would be taken should an organization experience those food quality threats.