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.
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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