Tyson Foods has 14 days to stop claiming that their chickens are “raised without antibiotics.” The deceptive nationwide campaign was brought to an end after rivals Sanderson Farms and Purdue filed suit claiming that all three poultry processors use antibiotics, and that Tyson was trying to steal an undeserved appearance of health.
The two companies jointly sought an injunction to stop Tyson’s ad campaign, arguing the “raised without antibiotics” claim misleads consumers by making it appear Tyson’s chicken is safer or more healthful.
Sanderson and Perdue initially based their legal challenge on Tyson’s practice of feeding chickens ionophores, an antibiotic used only in animals raised for food. Sanderson and Perdue also use ionophores.
Then during trial in federal court in Baltimore, Tyson officials acknowledged they also inject eggs several days before they hatch with antibiotics that are approved for use in humans. Dave Hogberg, Tyson’s senior vice president for consumer products, said it is a common industry practice.
Hogberg said injecting eggs with antibiotics did not undermine the “raised without antibiotic” label because the term “raised” is understood to cover the period that begins with hatching.
According to Tyson’s “Core Values,” they are a bunch of well-meaning folks “engaged in the production of food, seeking to pursue truth and integrity.” After the USDA initially cried foul over Tyson’s health claims, the pursuit of truth led Tyson to instead boast that their chickens are “raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans.” At the time, Tyson said:
“We once again turned to consumers for their guidance and they told us this label more clearly conveys our chickens are not raised with any feed ingredients that could contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans,” said Dave Hogberg, senior vice president of Consumer Products Marketing for Tyson Foods. “The new labeling enables us to continue producing Raised Without Antibiotics chicken, which nine out of ten consumers say is important to them.”
Wow, that statement is just leaking with truth and integrity. Who ever would have guessed a federal court would brand Tyson as dishonest?
Court Orders Tyson to Suspend Ads For Antibiotic-Free Chicken [Washington Post]
Court says Tyson chicken antibiotic claims must stop [BarfBlog]
Tyson to Use New Label for Raised Without Antibiotics Chicken; Company and USDA agree to more informative wording (Press Release) [Tyson Foods]