The biggest chicken seller in the U.S. has finally seen the light.
By the end of September 2017, Tyson Foods will cease to use human antibiotics in its chickens, reported Bloomberg.
The announcement comes amid concerns that antibiotics are overused and could be putting humans at risk. These antibiotics are used to prevent disease in crowded chicken pens, so that the animals grow the largest they possibly can.
Tyson is following in the footsteps of the many food companies that have recently been aiming to be more health-conscious. For example, Chipotle cut out the use of GMOs in its food on Monday. And in March, McDonald’s, a Tyson customer, announced that it would only serve chicken raised without antibiotics by March 2017.
“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,” Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods said in a press release.
Hopefully, in the next few years, we’ll see a reduction in antibiotic use. It’s clearly where the market is headed.
“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,” Smith said. “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.”
So basically, he means that they’ll continue to use antibiotics — but only ones that “aren’t medically important for humans.”
If we trust the company at its word, this is a big step in the right direction (though a pretty drawn-out, two-year step), and hopefully it will influence other major food brands to go down the same path.