Tyson Chicken Essays

Submitted By fol3829
Words: 903
Pages: 4

The Truth behind the Labels

The demand for naturally raised and drug free meat is on the rise as consumers learn more and more about what is really put into the foods that we consume. Prior to this recent change consumers would just go to the grocery store and buy their meat without thinking about things such as steroids, antibiotics and hormones. The producers have recognized the change that is happening and the concerns that we have with what we buy and put into our bodies. Some companies are willing to do whatever it takes to make us buy their products, even if that means lying about how their products are actually produced. Tyson is one of the world’s largest poultry processors. They are mainly known for their various chicken products but also process pork, beef and select prepared frozen foods. In 2013 alone, Tyson’s sales were about thirty four point four billion dollars. Clearly Tyson is dominating the market for poultry and other meats (“A snapshot of”, 2014). Americans continue to buy Tyson’s products because the labels clearly state that their chickens are raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones but according to the U.S. Department of agriculture, Tyson may be falsely labeling their products. According to the USDA’s claims in 2008, Tyson foods used an antibiotic known as gentamicin on their chickens. Gentamicin is an antibiotic that is widely used on humans to treat critical bacterial infections (“Gentamicin top”). Since the antibiotic is commonly used to treat humans, Tyson thought that they could also treat chickens with it. Tyson’s spokesperson Gary Mickelson admitted that they did use the antibiotic but that it was only to treat the eggs of the unborn chicks. He also claimed that this was a routine process that is done with all the eggs because it is necessary to help with hatching. But this antibiotic stays in the chick for many weeks after it is born and that is what poses as a concern for consumers (“USDA says Tyson”, 2008). Two of the largest competitors of Tyson Foods are Purdue Farms and Sanderson Farms. In January of 2008, these two companies filed a lawsuit against Tyson foods for their false labeling and a class-action suit also followed for the consumers. The USDA, who had previously signed to let Tyson use these labels, wrote to them revoking their rights to do so after hearing of the case. The court issued an injunction that would prohibit Tyson from further using the labels “Antibiotic” or “Hormone” free on their products but Tyson actually “voluntarily” withdrew the labels (Shin, 2008). As a result of the lawsuit and the claims against Tyson, they lost many of their customers and a great deal of money. According to Laura Klein, author at Organic Authority, “Individuals who bought Tyson chicken products labeled as having been raised without antibiotics from mid-June 2007 through April 2009 would be entitled to refunds”(Klein, 2010). During those nearly two years, Tyson Foods made well over five million dollars in the sales of poultry and other meats so that could have potentially been a huge loss for the company. As a result of the suit, Tyson’s sales fell $1.47 million (“USDA says Tyson”, 2008). Obviously the company lost many of its customers because of this issue. Whether or not a claim proves to be true or not, there are always going to be customers lost because trust is lost in the company and you are not sure whether or not their products are what they claim to be. The other competing companies, though, felt that they were losing money because of the way that Tyson was labeling their products. The other companies were not even claiming to be