Twists and Turns: Tyson's "Raised Without Antibiotics" Claim

June 08 (this is a year old, but interesting!)

Last week, Tyson Foods pulled the plug on its "raised without antibiotics" marketing campaign, ending a year long struggle involving Tyson, its competitors, the FDA, the USDA, the FTC, and a district court in Baltimore. Although along the way, the struggle seemed to involve nuances of scientific classification and the wording of Tyson's claims, the proverbial final straw came with the USDA discovery that Tyson was still using antibiotics to prevent illness and death in its chicks.

The widespread use of antibiotics in animal production has long been known to contribute to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The FDA has been slow to react, but has gradually restricted the use of certain antimicrobials in animal production, thus saving the effectiveness of certain drugs for treatment of human disease. The recently released Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production called for strong actions to limit antibiotic use.

And, as early as 2002, it was reported that the market leaders in the poultry industry had begun to transition from the use of antibiotics that were also used by humans, instead using drugs that were not needed for human treatment. Tyson was at the forefront of this transition.

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