Tyson Foods to transition to 'no antibiotics ever'

by Erica Shaffer
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 Tyson Chicken
The company also advances transparency initiative with behind-the-scenes documentary.
 
CHICAGO – Tyson Foods said the company’s entire line of retail chicken products will be sourced from birds raised with no antibiotics ever (NAE), making Tyson a leading provider of chickens raised with no antibiotics.

 

Tyson President and CEO Tom Hayes said earlier this year that the company would continue to innovate in product development while remaining focused on sustainable production practices. “For us, sustainability isn’t a single issue; it’s about focusing on multiple dimensions in order to advance the whole,” Hayes said during the 2017 Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. “We will use our reach, capabilities and resources to drive positive change at a scale we believe no other company can match.”

The company’s sustainability plans include establishing strategic partnerships to set science-based sustainability goals; continuing third-party audits of farms to certify humane treatment of chickens; improving how chickens are raised through a concept farm, with innovations designed to be better for the birds, the environment and food safety; and increasing transparency across the business, including sustainability efforts.

On the transparency front, the company partnered with documentary film maker Daniel Junge to film a video series featuring behind-the-scenes footage of how Tyson makes chicken nuggets. Junge won an Academy Award in 2012 with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for Saving Face, a story about a Pakistani plastic surgeon who returns home to help individuals scarred by acid attacks.

Junge met with chicken farmers and their families, plant workers, chefs and animal welfare experts, veterinarians, hatchery managers and others to provide viewers an inside look at Tyson products, practices and more. Junge also interviewed Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson.

“The videos and our No Antibiotics Ever commitment represent a big step for the Tyson brand in our efforts to act sustainably and transparently,” said Duke Zandstra, senior marketing director for the Tyson brand. “Our goal is to show what good can come when a food company the size and scale of ours opens its doors and invites people in.”

Tyson recently launched the first video which examines how independent farmers raise chickens for Tyson Foods. Additional videos will be released online and across social media over the next several weeks. Subsequent videos will address how Tyson chicken nuggets are made and an interview with a veterinarian about the company’s move to no antibiotics ever production. The videos will be available at www.tyson.com/our-practices.

“I was excited to go where cameras aren’t typically allowed,” Junge said. “To go behind the scenes of a big chicken producer is intriguing to me. I was interested in seeing the reality behind a lot of the stories you hear about ‘big food’ and was impressed with the access Tyson Foods provided me to do exactly that.”

The company also is making experts available to answer consumer questions about Tyson products and production practices via the company’s Facebook page.

“We’re working to drive positive change at scale and are constantly striving to do better,” Zandstra explained. “It’s important we invite people in and along for the journey. In the end, we hope people feel good about Tyson chicken when they head to the grocery store.”

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