October 9, 2008

Tyson's doubletalk on biofuels

Tyson Foods, the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork, broke ground this week on a biofuels plant in Louisiana with it’s partner Syntroleum Corp. and $100 million in Gulf Opportunity Zone Bonds.

With much fanfare - and gold shovels and shined wingtips - the companies talked big about the "well-compensated, highly-skilled jobs and a multi-million dollar payroll" the plant will create and the cleaner fuel it will produce that's an alternative to oil. These are all good things and worth a cheer.

Then they turned the soil and turned a page in the doubletalk playbook when they declared that the plant will make diesel and jet fuels from animal fats and greases.

The companies said they are different than the ethanol industry, "which use food ingredients such as corn" to produce fuel. (Somebody should explain to the suits at Tyson that that people don’t eat field corn.) Instead, they’ll use “non-food grade animal fats” such as beef tallow, pork lard, chicken fat and greases - all of which will be produced or procured by Tyson.

Don’t be fooled by the doubletalk. Just where have all those "non-food" fats gone over the years? Right into livestock and poultry feed. By creating a new market for traditionally cheap fat and grease, those prices will go up - and that’s good for Tyson.

So Tyson - who takes the opportunity to blast corn ethanol whenever it can - is talking out of both sides of its mouth. Biofuels are bad when they come from (non-food grade) corn - but good when they come from (non-food grade) fat and grease.

In other words, biofuels are great, as long as they are padding Tyson's already big pockets.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true. Tyson whines about ethanol at the same time it's putting others out of business and getting into it's own biofuels venture. They should stop their short-sighted ethanol bashing and get on board.