SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. has recognized several of its subsidiaries for establishing new safety records during the past year. Earlier this month, it gave Health and Safety Excellence Awards to a number of its subsidiaries for excellence in managing occupational safety and health during the period from 2010 to early 2011.

Smithfield completed a record year just four years after implementing its Employee Injury Prevention Management System (EIPMS), with its occupational injury and illness rates dropping an average of 25 percent over the previous year's rates. Smithfield's current injury and illness rates are at their lowest in the company's history.

Smithfield subsidiaries are evaluated for the Smithfield President's Award for Health and Safety Excellence throughout the year. Nominations are based on stringent criteria regarding implementation of EIPMS and overall results preventing injury and illness.

John Morrell Food Group's Armour-Eckrich facility in St. Charles, Ill., won this year’s President's Award. This facility has a history of solid performance on preventing injury and illness. It has a mature and well-implemented health and safety management system, Smithfield said.

Smithfield Packing Company's Grayson, Ky., facility and the Farmland Foods plant in Milan, Mo., each won the Award of Commendation for their outstanding performance in health and safety management.

"The premise of our EIPMS is to take a proactive approach to injury prevention, moving well beyond regulatory compliance," said Parul Stevens, Smithfield's director of risk management. "Our achievements over the past five years have yielded measurable results for our bottom line, while protecting our employees. This is a win-win for our employees and the company."

Areas of focus for the President's Award are implementing and maintaining the EIPMS, management's commitment to health and safety processes, employee engagement in health and safety processes, overall conformance to local, state and federal regulations as well as industry-accepted safe work practices, and continuous improvement in each of these areas and in overall health and safety performance. The combined injury and illness rates of Smithfield's various locations are not only much less than those of the meat and animal production industries, but well below private industry averages.

Smithfield Packing Company received the Organizational Excellence Award for Health and Safety Management, which recognizes the operating company within the organization that best demonstrates its commitment to and overall performance toward the objectives expressed in the Smithfield Foods' Health and Safety Policy, as well as corporate-based initiatives.

Granjas Carroll de Mexico, in Perote, Vera Cruz, won Smithfield's inaugural International Award for Health and Safety Excellence. It is similar to the President's Award, but recognizes a location within Smithfield's international community for its overall commitment to preventing injury and illness.