News 2063 views update:Dec 27, 2007

Tyson and USDA reach an agreement on antibiotics label

After federal officials rejected its original labelling, Tyson Foods Inc. has reached a consensus with the US Department of Agriculture over the antibiotics labels on its fresh chicken.

Tyson said the revised labels will state that its fresh chicken is "raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans." The USDA withdrew its consent of Tyson's chicken labels last month; it said the chicken was "raised without antibiotics."

The agency announced it had mistakenly overlooked ionophores, a feed additive used for Tyson's chicken. The USDA has a long-standing policy of classifying ionophores as antibiotics.

According to Tyson, "ionophores are not used in human medicine and do not contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance to important human drugs. They remain in the intestinal tract of the animal and do not carry over into the meat consumed by humans."

New plans
Tyson said on Thursday in a press release that it plans to carry on using ionophores, which are used as a preventive measure against intestinal illness in chickens. The company said it will start to bring in the new labels over the next months.

In June, Tyson said it would not use antibiotics any longer to raise chicken that is sold fresh in stores and would promote the new product as part of a $70 million advertising campaign.

Editor WorldPoultry

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