Tyson Announces Antibiotic-Free Chicken and What Does that Really Mean?

Big news from the second largest poultry company in the world. Tyson, which slaughters 2.3 billions birds annually, announced it would stop using antibiotics by June of this year.

Just be careful what this really means with your chicken. Sometimes it is just another marketing game to trick you into thinking you are getting something better than you really are.

Why are antibiotics used in the first place?

Factory farms have a problem. Animals are raised in tight quarters; they literally live in their own feces. As a result, they have a high chance of contracting disease. As a safety measure, many birds are routinely treated with antibiotics, even if they aren’t sick.

The use of antibiotics in animal husbandry is so prevalent that it accounts for 80% (!) of the total antibiotics sold in the United States.

The problem with antibiotics is that they lose their efficacy over time. New strains of bacteria evolve that are resistant to the antibiotics. A vicious cycle forms. Antibiotic use (and misuse) is a major public health issue for humans, because antibiotic-resistant bacteria can kill us as well.

That’s why any news of reduction in use of antibiotics is good news. Keep in mind though, that any birds that do get sick, will be treated with antibiotics.

The best way to make sure you aren’t getting antibiotics in any of you meat is to buy organic. You can also find a local farm that handle these animals and let’s their livestock roam free/free range and use no artificial feed or hormones to raise their animals.


KISS Fact: Here’s another food for thought.  Hormones aren’t the only thing you need to worry about in your products.  No matter what the packaging says,  always read the ingredients label to determine if it’s worth buying or eating.  If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

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