Nation’s Largest Seller of Chickens Eliminating Antibiotics

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(Bloomberg Business) — Nation's Largest Seller of Chickens Eliminating Antibiotics

Tyson Foods will no longer use human antibiotics in chickens. The Arkansas-based company, the nation's largest seller of chicken, is announcing today that it plans to eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics in its flocks by September 2017.

Antibiotics defined as “medically important” are those taken by people. The drugs are also used by livestock producers to treat and prevent disease in crowded pens and were extensively used for many years to promote growth in farm animals.

Donnie Smith, Tyson's chief executive officer, said in a press release that the company has already reduced its use of medically important antibiotics in broiler chickens by more than 80 percent since 2011. He said it is now “realistic to shoot for zero,” but added in an interview that the company would continue using those antibiotics as a last resort to treat sick chickens. “We are better off,” Smith says. “We have found that not only have we been able to reduce the need for antibiotics, we have better performance along the way.”

Tyson's announcement comes amid growing concerns about antibiotic-resistant superbugs in people, a problem partially blamed on widespread use of the drugs in farm animals. That concern is leading more fast-food chains and consumers to opt for meat from animals raised without antibiotics.

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Source:  Bloomberg Business


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