SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Tyson Foods, Inc. has set a goal to eliminate the use of human antibiotics in its US broiler chicken flocks by September 2017. The company has further committed to studying and, where possible, reducing the use of human antibiotics on cattle, hog and turkey farms.

This past October, the company said it no longer uses antibiotics at its 35 hatcheries and has been working since 2011 to reduce the use of antibiotics used in human medicine in its chicken operations.

“Antibiotic resistant infections are a global health concern,” said Donnie Smith, president CEO of Tyson Foods. “We’re confident our meat and poultry products are safe, but want to do our part to responsibly reduce human antibiotics on the farm so these medicines can continue working when they're needed to treat illness.

“Given the progress we’ve already made reducing antibiotics in our broilers, 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.”

Tyson Foods plans to invest in research into disease prevention and the development of antibiotic alternatives on the farm.

“One of our core values is to serve as responsible stewards of animals — we will not let sick animals suffer,” Smith said.

“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.”

Smith added that the company’s effort to reduce the use of human antibiotics will not materially affect Tyson Foods’ financial performance.

Tyson sets a goal of September 2017 to eliminate its use of human antibiotics in US broiler chicken flocks.