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    USDA Rescinds Tyson Chicken Labels

    The department says it based its decision on information provided after the label was approved.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has rescinded the Tyson "Raised Without Antibiotics That Impact Human Antibiotic Resistance" label that appeared on the company's chicken. The department informed Tyson of its decision by letter on June 2.

    In December 2007 the Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS), the public health agency in the USDA, approved the label, a qualified version of Tyson's earlier "Raised Without Antibiotics" label.

    "The label is being rescinded based on additional information provided to FSIS only after the qualified claim had been approved," noted under secretary for food safety Richard Raymond. "In contrast to information presented by Tyson Foods, Inc., FSIS found that they routinely used the antibiotic Gentamicin to prevent illness and death in chicks, which raises public health concerns."

    According to Raymond, Tyson Foods must stop using the label, or any variation of it, by June 18.

    The FSIS now has plans to "initiate a public process to review policies on 'Raised Without Antibiotics' claims for poultry," said Raymond.

    This week Tyson said that it was voluntarily withdrawing the label, citing uncertainty and controversy over product labeling regulations and advertising claims.

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