(WatchDogReport.org) – Tyson, the country’s largest poultry processor, will return to using antibiotics in their chicken products after eight years of antibiotic-free processing. Recent inflation may be responsible for the decision to about-face on the issue, as customers are choosing cheaper options due to increased food prices.
In 2015 Tyson decided to stop using antibiotics on their chickens. They began using alternative methods in 2017 to keep chickens healthy, including essential oils, which resulted in a more expensive final product. The decision to stop antibiotic use was based on concern over bacteria becoming antibiotic resistant in humans due to human antibiotic exposure through consuming chicken, and other meats, that had been treated. Antibiotics for human and animal health are very similar, possibly the same medication in some instances.
The World Health Organization has an “important to human medicine” standard used to determine which medications can safely be used on animals raised for human consumption without endangering human health. This standard aims to find a balance between human and animal health, with human health prioritized.
Tyson will now replace their “no antibiotics ever” label with one that reads “no antibiotics important to human medicine.” This means that Tyson will refrain from using the same antibiotics on the chicken that are used on humans for infection. The latest WHO publication indicates that there is still risk involved in using antibiotics on animals meant for consumption.
Since 2017 the public has been purchasing Tyson’s antibiotic-free chicken products. The substantial inflation during the Biden Administration has caused food costs to soar, forcing consumers to buy lower-cost food items regardless of the health risks.
Other leading poultry producers in the U.S., such as Pilgrims Pride, still use antibiotics, while Perdue claims to have never used them. Policies for these producers, for now, remain the same.
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