Beyond Medically-Important: Tyson Foods Announces Plan to Eliminate Human-Important Antibiotics from Broiler Flocks


Arkansas-based Tyson Foods has announced its intent to eliminate use of antibiotics also used for humans from its U.S. broiler flocks by the end of September 2017.

On average Tyson Foods processes more than 41 million chickens each week. | Via Tyson Foods.
On average Tyson Foods processes more than 41 million chickens each week. | Via Tyson Foods.

“Given the progress we’ve already made reducing antibiotics in our broilers, we believe it’s realistic to shoot for zero by the end of our 2017 fiscal year. But we won’t jeopardize animal well-being just to get there. We’ll use the best available treatments to keep our chickens healthy, under veterinary supervision,” says Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods, in a press release.

Related: Proactive Conversations About Antibiotics Required to Keep Them as Tools

According to the company, it has already stopped using all antibiotics in its 35 broiler hatcheries. Veterinary prescriptions are needed for antibiotics used on its broiler farms, and, since 2011, human-important antibiotic use in broiler chickens has dropped by more than 80%.

By December 2015, all antibiotics deemed medically-significant to humans in the United States will not be allowed to claim growth promotion, and will require veterinary oversight. Tyson Foods intends to go beyond this target, not just by eliminating antibiotics also used for human health from its broiler barns, but eventually from its other products as well.

There are no plans to use this change in future product labeling or marketing efforts.

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