Shares of Tyson Foods (TSN) - Get Report traded lower Tuesday after the New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the meat processor for allegedly misrepresenting its "slow and minimal" response to the coronavirus to its investors.
Shares of Springdale, Arkansas company were down 1.65% to $68.63 at last check.
In a statement, Stringer asked the SEC to look into Tyson Foods for making misleading disclosures to investors, including the New York City Retirement Systems, regarding its worker health and safety protections.
"Tyson is flagrantly misrepresenting its poor pandemic response,” said Stringer, in a statement. “There is human cost to Tyson’s failures – preventable deaths, hospitalizations and sick workers. These failures have material impacts on its business operations that carry serious risks for shareholders."
"I am calling on the SEC to immediately open an investigation into Tyson’s misleading and dubious claims that they are adhering to OSHA and CDC safety guidelines because shareowners need a full and transparent accounting into Tyson’s workplace safety and the risks to both workers and investors amid the COVID-19 pandemic," Stringer added.
Tyson's inadequate response to the pandemic included allowing workers to wear bandanas and sleep masks as face coverings. Tyson’s severe downplaying of the severity of Covid-19 in its largest pork plant led to 1,000 workers becoming infected, followed by hospitalizations, deaths, and ultimately the plant’s closure, according to the statement. The company also allegedly penalized workers who took sick leave.
Stringer's statement added that as of Dec. 3 Tyson had the highest number of coronavirus cases of any company in the meatpacking industry.
Last month, Tyson Foods suspended managers at an Iowa pork plant after allegations that they placed wagers on whether employees would contract coronavirus after being ordered back to work.