Business and Finance Division
Agribusiness, Land & Minerals Department
The goal of the Food Processing Section is to economically and efficiently produce the beef, pork and vegetable needs for TDCJ. The food processing division consists of three plants: the Pork Packing Plant located at the Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony, the Beef Processing Plant located at the Neal Unit in Amarillo, and the Vegetable Canning Plant located at the Terrell Unit in Rosharon.
The Food Processing Section focuses on 2 primary areas:
- Production: It is our goal to produce as much of the needs of the kitchens as possible while maintaining the lowest possible cost. It is in our best interest to be as efficient and economical as possible.
- Food Safety: We will produce our products in the safest manner possible. This is accomplished by using the best tools available to us, including microbiological sampling, product testing and consulting with outside services when necessary.
All three plants are under inspection services:
- Beef Processing Plant is under the inspection oversight of the Texas Department of Health (TDH) Meat Inspection Division.
- Pork Packing Plant is under the inspection oversight of the Texas Department of Health – Meat Inspection Division.
- Canning Plant is under the inspection oversight of the United States Food and Drug Administration.
The Food Processing Section works closely with the Food Service Department to continually meet their needs. This has resulted in new product development at both the pork and beef plants. We also investigate problems that the kitchens may have related to any of the products that we produce.
Neal Beef Plant
The Neal Beef Plant, located in Amarillo, produces beef products for the TDCJ. Currently, the plant produces ground beef, beef salami, beef bologna, beef links, beef rolls, and beef franks.
Offender labor is provided by the Neal Unit for 2 production shifts and 1 sanitation shift. The plant utilizes approximately 180 offenders daily in production, maintenance, shipping, packing and sanitation.
The beef plant also employs approximately 21 state employees. These employees supervise the activities of the offenders in all areas.
The plant annually produces and ships approximately 14 million pounds of beef products. The average cost to produce these products is $1.35/pound.
The plant is under the inspection of the United States Department of Agriculture and is required to have a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan for control of food safety related concerns. In addition to TDH inspection, the plant also has a very stringent quality control program that is followed and monitored by the quality control supervisor.
Michael Packing Plant
The Michael Unit Packing Plant is located in Tennessee Colony. It currently produces loin ends, shoulders, spareribs, polish sausage, bulk pork sausage, ground pork and a pork roll. The Packing Plant annually produces and ships approximately 10 million pounds of pork products to the TDCJ units.
Another function of the Michael Packing Plant is to teach offenders skills that could help them upon release. Approximately 300 offenders and approximately 27 state employees work at the plant 5 days per week, 2 shifts per day.
The Michael Packing Plant is under the inspection of The Texas Department of Health and as such, has an effective Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan to control food safety concerns. The plant follows a strict schedule to assure a fresh wholesome product is provided to the Food Service Division.
Terrell Canning Plant
The Canning Plant produces an average of 306,000 cases of canned vegetables annually. The primary vegetables canned are green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, pinto beans, squash and sauerkraut. The Canning Plant encompasses 122,000 square feet.
The Terrell Canning Plant is designated as an Approved Training Station for the Vocational Industrial Education Program in cooperation with the Windham School District. This educational program provides qualifying offenders with career job training that is academically rigorous, addresses student needs and provides actual on-the-job experience that will contribute to their successful reintegration into the workforce.
The Canning Plant provides all assigned offenders with the opportunity for a productive job, job skills and training, and a work ethic.
The Canning Plant employs approximately 25 state employees, including 12 security staff, and has over 400 offenders assigned throughout the year. Work is scheduled for two 6-hour shifts a day, with some seasonal crops requiring extended work schedules. The Cannery is able to produce 12 months a year.