GREELEY, COLO. — JBS USA created a full-service food safety and food plant sanitation business, JBS Sanitation. The new company will provide in-house sanitation services for JBS USA and Pilgrim’s facilities.
JBS Sanitation will immediately begin servicing 10 facilities. Additional facilities are expected to transition to the services if third-party service providers fail to meet JBS’s audit and compliance requirements.
“In light of the troubling allegations that have occurred in the food sanitation sector, JBS USA has made the decision to create a company that can provide the highest levels of food safety and quality assurance, while also adopting the same high standards for compliance and employment verification that we adhere to in the hiring of our own JBS USA workforce,” said Wesley Batista Filho, chief executive officer of JBS USA.
Wilson Herrera will serve as president of JBS Sanitation. With nearly 20 years of industry experience, Herrera joined the new company from JBS USA Pork, where he led corporate human resources.
Alfred “Al” Almanza, global head of food safety and quality assurance for JBS Global, will serve as the head of technical services for JBS Sanitation. Before his tenure at JBS, Almanza spent almost 40 years with the US Department of Agriculture, where he addressed issues on food safety, regulatory affairs and public health.
“Sanitation is a key component to producing safe, affordable, healthy food,” Almanza said. “It requires specific expertise and extensive training to be done safely. Our focus at JBS Sanitation will be the safety of the food we provide, the safety of the men and women who provide sanitation services and creating opportunities for our team members.”
The creation of JBS Sanitation follows the child-labor allegations against JBS’s previous sanitation service provider, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. (PSSI).
At the time of the allegations, PSSI serviced around 700 food processing facilities nationwide. An investigation conducted by the Department of Labor found that PSSI employed over 30 workers from ages 13 to 17 in hazardous work conditions.
Since the allegations, JBS has terminated its contracts with PSSI. Locations that formerly serviced through PSSI include Grand Island, Neb., Worthington, Minn., and Greeley, Colo.
To ensure past allegations do not repeat, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s added an internal whistleblower hotline, where employees can anonymously report suspicious activity.
Additionally, JBS Sanitation partnered with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) to provide competitive wages and benefits for team members.
“The revelations about child labor among subcontractors in meatpacking plants are simply unacceptable, and it has been heartening to see JBS USA’s willingness to proactively move to address this egregious situation,” said Marc Perrone, UFCW international president. “We firmly believe that a strong union contract is the solution to the exploitation of any workers in the industry and are pleased to be partnering with JBS USA on in-house sanitation at a number of facilities across the country, which means sanitation workers will now receive the strong wages, benefits, and protections as other union members in those facilities. We look forward to continuing our work with JBS USA to ensure a safe food supply and safe working environment for our members.”