Tyson Foods Donates 685,000 Meals to Federal Workers in Shutdown

(Bloomberg) -- Truckloads of chicken are coming to the aid of federal workers in the D.C. area impoverished by the partial government shutdown, compliments of Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat company.

Tyson says it’s donating 85 metric tons of food to help with the increased demand for services during the shutdown. That includes three truckloads of chicken to the Capital Area Food Bank, 14,000 pounds of chicken to the DC Central Kitchen, which makes food for people in need, and a 40,000-pound mountain of chicken to the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, which will reach Coast Guard workers.

Meanwhile, federal inspectors at meat plants aren’t getting paid - but companies like Tyson that rely on them can’t even buy them lunch or help in any way. That would be a conflict of interest, said Eric Mittenthal, a spokesman for the North American Meat Institute. There’s concern as the shutdown continues that there could be disruptions as inspectors continue to work without pay, but so far, plants are operating normally, he said.

Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, making a gift to an inspector can be considered a bribe punishable by as much as $10,000 in fines and three years in prison for both the giver and the recipient.

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