Tyson fresh chicken goes antibiotic free

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Foods announced many of its fresh chicken products will be marketed under the Tyson brand and prominently feature the phrase "chicken raised without antibiotics" on the label.

"While we have great confidence in the quality of our traditional chicken, we’re also committed to providing mainstream consumers with the kind of products they want," said Richard Bond, president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods. "According to our research, 91% of consumers agree it’s important to have fresh chicken produced and labeled ‘raised without antibiotics.’"

Other Tyson chicken products — Tyson Deli Rotisserie and Marinated Raw Breaded eight-piece packages, will be available without antibiotics by July, while the company’s quick-frozen chicken will be offered without antibiotics by late-August. A number of frozen products won’t be sold under the new label.

"We are the first major poultry company to offer fresh chicken raised without antibiotics on a large scale basis and at an affordable price for mainstream consumers," said Dave Hogberg, senior vice-president of fresh meal solutions for Tyson. "Because of the size and scale of our operations, we’re able to convert our entire branded business and assure supply to our customers."

During a news conference announcing the initiative, Mr. Hogberg said most natural chicken typically costs $1.50 to $2 more per lb. He said Tyson’s price per-lb will be well below that. The fresh chicken segment amounts to less than 10% of Tyson’s total company sales.

To make the switch, Tyson will convert 20 of its production facilities to antibiotic-free. Company representatives would not comment on the cost to make the conversion.

With this announcement, Tyson Foods joins several other large poultry companies offering a line of antibiotic-free chicken products, including Gold Kist, Inc., now a subsidiary of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Pittsburg, Texas, and Gold’n Plump Poultry, Saint Cloud, Minn.

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