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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Blog arrow TYSON CHICKEN NOT ANTIBOITIC FREE
TYSON CHICKEN NOT ANTIBOITIC FREE
I have to admit that I never believed the marketing behind Tyson chicken and antibiotics. No major food processor goes organic except to ride the organic coattails to make money. Now, Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat processor and the second largest chicken producer in the U.S., has admitted that it injects its chickens with antibiotics before they hatch and then labels them as raised without antibiotics. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has told Tyson to stop using the antibiotic-free label, but the company has sued for the right to keep using it.

Commercial chicken farmers regularly treat chickens and other birds with antibiotics. Among the many health concerns is that the routine use of antibiotics in agriculture accelerates the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. When Tyson began labeling its chicken antibiotic-free, the USDA warned the company that such labels were not truthful, because Tyson regularly treats its birds' feed with bacteria-killing ionophores. Then USDA inspectors discovered that in addition to using ionophores, Tyson was regularly injecting its chicken eggs with gentamicin, an antibiotic that has been used for more than 30 years. The USDA then told Tyson that it would no longer consider the antibiotic-free label "truthful and accurate."

As far as I'm concerned this was just a particularly egregious example of 'greenwashing'. With a fudging of semantics and outright dissembling Tyson was trying to market its chicken as healthier. Or at least fool those consumers looking for antibiotic free meat. Don't fall for it. Don't buy Tyson chicken thinking that it's antibiotic free. It's not.

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