Antibiotic-free labelling - Tyson sues USDA
Tyson Foods recently sued the USDA over its rules for labelling chicken
raised without antibiotics.
Tyson, the second largest US chicken processor, filed a lawsuit, calling
itself a "victim" of a flawed regulatory process that misinterprets the meaning
of the word "raised" and haphazardly applies its standard among different
Earlier in June the protein giant voluntarily withdrew its labels for
chicken raised without antibiotics due to "uncertainty and controversy over
product labelling regulations".
The USDA allowed the company to make use of the "raised without
antibiotics" label, but reversed the decision at a later stage.
Reuters reports that the controversy stems from the company's use of
antibiotics for pre-hatch vaccinations 2-3 days before chicks hatch. In the
lawsuit, it says the chickens are antibiotic-free from hatch to slaughter so it
has used the label "raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance
It is further reported that Tyson said the USDA changed its policy so that
the company and other producers can no longer use that label if antibiotics are
administered "in ovo" before the chickens have hatched.
The USDA gave Tyson until June 18 to voluntarily remove its labelling on
millions of packages. Consequently, Tyson requested a preliminary injunction on
that timetable, stating that it was an insufficient amount of time to create and
print new labels. However, the request was withdrawn because the Food Safety and
Inspection Service agreed to extend the withdrawal date to July 9.
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