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SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- After six weeks of consumer research and discussion, Tyson Foods, Inc. here and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have agreed to use more informative labeling for the company's Raised Without Antibiotics chicken program. Tyson will be phasing in the new labeling language on its packages over the next several months, which will read: "Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans."
"We once again turned to consumers for their guidance and they told us this label more clearly conveys our chickens are not raised with any feed ingredients that could contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans," said Dave Hogberg, Tyson Foods' s.v.p./consumer products marketing "The new labeling enables us to continue producing Raised Without Antibiotics chicken, which nine out of ten consumers say is important to them."
Tyson will also post additional information about the label on its Web site.
The supplier began seeking modified wording in November, after USDA notified it that its original label had been mistakenly approved by the government since the company uses ionophores as an ingredient in its chicken feed. Tyson's practice of using ionophores was noted in its original label application, which was approved by USDA in May 2007. However, USDA officials subsequently withdrew their approval of the label in November, telling Tyson they consider ionophores a form of antibiotics.
Tyson said it currently plans to continue using ionophores, which are recognized and approved by the federal government as a safe feed ingredient. They are used as a preventive measure against an intestinal illness in chicken, but are not used in human medicine and do not contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance to important human drugs.