News 310 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Tyson removes antibiotics from animal feed

Tyson Foods decided, in response to consumer demands, to raise its fresh chickens without antibiotics. "It's big news when the largest chicken producer in the country uses an antibiotic-free label to gain a competitive advantage," according to David Wallinga, M.D., director of the Food and Health Program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

"What's good for step forward public health is also good business. Tyson should be applauded for taking this great." Medical and public health experts have long decried the use of antibiotics in animal feed, both to promote growth and to compensate for unsanitary conditions on industrial-scale farms, because it spurs the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that spread to humans via our food, air and water.

Antibiotics as feed additive
The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70% of all antibiotics used in the U.S., nearly 25 million pounds annually, are used as feed additives for chicken, pigs, and beef cattle. A Johns Hopkins University study released in January showed that the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in chicken feed slightly accelerated chicken growth, but that the benefit was offset by the cost of purchasing antibiotics, with the total cost rising by about one penny per chicken.

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