Tyson Foods aims to eliminate the use of human antibiotics from its broiler chicken flocks in the United States by the end of September 2017.
According to the company, it already stopped using all antibiotics in its 35 broiler hatcheries. Tyson Foods now requires a veterinary prescription for antibiotics used on broiler farms. Since 2011, the company already reduced its dependence on human antibiotics to treat chickens by more than 80%.
Tyson Foods vowed to release its annual progress on the matter starting with its fiscal 2015 Sustainability Report.
Global health concerns
In a statement, Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods said, “Antibiotic resistant infections are a global health concern. We’re confident our meat and poultry products are safe but want to do our part to reduce human antibiotics responsibly on the farm so these medicines can continue working when they’re needed to treat illness.”
Smith is confident that Tyson Foods will achieve its objective of eliminating human antibiotics from its chickens by 2017. According to him, the scheduled deadline was realistic given the company’s progress on reducing antibiotics in its broiler chickens.
We believe it’s realistic to shoot for zero by the end of our 2017 fiscal year, but we won’t jeopardize animal well-being just to get there. We’ll use the best available treatments to keep our chickens healthy, under veterinary supervision,” said Smith.
Tyson Foods forms working groups
Tyson Foods is also establishing working groups with independent farmers and others within its supply chains to discuss ways to reduce the use of human antibiotics on cattle, hog, and turkey farms.
Furthermore, Tyson Foods emphasized that it would provide funding and work with the food industry, government, veterinary, public health, and academic communities to accelerate research to find antibiotic alternatives to prevent disease in farms. The company is also obtaining feedback from its Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel.
“One of our core values is to serve as responsible stewards of animals – we will not let sick animals suffer. We believe it’s our responsibility to help drive action towards sustainable solutions to this challenge by working with our chicken, turkey, beef and pork supply chains,” said Smith.
The company said it is committed to taking similar steps on reducing antibiotics from its global chicken operations. It has not set a timeframe for its operations overseas.
Tyson Foods is the one of the world’s largest producers of chicken, beef, pork and prepared foods. Its brands include Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, and others.