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Smithfield Foods Recognizes Its Operating Companies for Again Recording Lowest Injury Rate in Company's History

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SMITHFIELD, Va., July 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Smithfield Foods, Inc.'s (NYSE:SFD) companywide injury and illness rates for fiscal year 2012 continued at their lowest levels in the company's history, and again remained well below the national average for the meatpacking industry.

In 2012 Smithfield's injury and illness rate was 3.42 injuries per 100 employees, down from 3.93 in 2011.

Although the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has not yet released industry-wide data on workplace injuries and illnesses for 2012, Smithfield Foods is confident that its rates will again be well below the national average for meat and agriculture industries and close to the national averages for all general industry. Smithfield's 2011 rate was 41.3% below the national average for beef and pork processors.

"We have come a long way in protecting our employees from injury and illness while at work, with a goal of preventing all workplace injuries," said John Tignor, Smithfield's corporate director of health, safety and security.

"While there is still a lot of room for improvement, the good news is that we continued to make progress in employee safety," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer.

Last week Smithfield handed out Health and Safety Excellence Awards to its independent operating companies at the company's annual Safety and Environmental Awards Conference. The awards are intended to honor the highest level of health and safety performance by subsidiaries and individual facilities, with emphasis on preventing injury and illness through proper systems management.

Smithfield has also been recognized externally for its worker safety efforts. In 2012 Smithfield was selected by McDonald's Corporation as one of the restaurant chain's Global Best of Sustainable Supply Chain winners for their ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of their employees.

Coveted Award

Each year, Smithfield's subsidiaries are evaluated for the coveted Smithfield President's Award for Health and Safety Excellence. Nominations are based on stringent criteria regarding implementation of the company's Employee Injury Prevention Management System (EIPMS) and overall results in preventing injury and illness.

This year's President's Award was presented to the John Morrell Foods Group's Golden Crisp plant in Sioux Center, Iowa. A runner-up for the award last year, Golden Crisp has done an outstanding job of maintaining continuous improvement with its EIPMS at its operations, and has successfully implemented the new Behavioral Risk Improvement (BRI) process while also working with a new general manager and safety manager because of two promotions. Golden Crisp maintains among the lowest injury and illness rates both within the industry and Smithfield Foods.

The First Award of Commendation went to the Farmland Foods facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, for demonstrating a high level of management participation, as well as outstanding employee engagement, in safety processes. The Salt Lake City team manages two separate locations in very good physical condition and does well at working to move up the hierarchy of controls on a daily basis. The operations, engineering and safety personnel work very well together at this location.

The Second Award of Commendation went to the Farmland Foods locations in Milan, Missouri. Milan is a large and very well run facility that demonstrates a high level of commitment and engagement by its management team, which keeps this location performing at the highest level.

This year's Organizational Excellence Award for Health and Safety Management went to the John Morrell Foods Group, which demonstrated its commitment to Smithfield Foods' health and safety vision and initiatives. The Organizational Excellence Award recognizes the operating company that best demonstrates its commitment to, and overall compliance with, the objectives of Smithfield Foods' Health and Safety Policy. Smithfield Foods introduced the BRI process several years ago and John Morrell has been at the forefront of implementation.

New Categories

The Smithfield Innovation Award was presented to the Smithfield Packing location in Kinston, N.C. The award recognizes a location that, through innovative design, improves practices, processes, equipment or machinery to increase overall effectiveness in protecting personnel.

The second new award introduced this year was the Safety Professional of The Year Award. The award was presented to John Morrell Food Group's Mike Costello from the Cudahy, Wis., location for his individual achievements and overall commitment to safety within the organization, as well as outside of the organization, through participation in safety and health efforts at a local, state or federal level.

From the international operations, Smithfield Prod in Timisoara, Romania, received the International Award for Health and Safety Excellence, which annually recognizes a Smithfield international company for continuous improvement in preventing injury and illness. Smithfield Prod implemented many changes both from a physical and administrative standpoint to improve the ability to protect employees. The level of improvement shown this past year positioned the location at the top within the international business category.

About Smithfield Safety Processes

EIPMS establishes an organized, process-oriented, proactive methodology to prevent injuries, and is regularly updated in order to continually improve safety and health performance. The BRI process supports EIPMS by encouraging hourly employees to observe each other and help make safe decisions. To learn more about Smithfield Foods' employee health and safety initiatives, please visit www.smithfieldcommitments.com/core-reporting-areas/employees/health-safety/.

About Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods is a $13 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook's®, Gwaltney®, John Morrell®, Kretschmar®, Curly's®, Carando®, Margherita®, and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com and www.smithfieldcommitments.com.

CONTACT: Keira Lombardo Smithfield Foods, Inc. (757) 365-3050 keiralombardo@smithfieldfoods.com

Source:Smithfield Foods, Inc.