Tyson Foods, Inc., announced that it is producing all of its retail Tyson brand chicken from birds raised without antibiotics. “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 L. Bond, president and CEO of Tyson Foods.

“According to our research, 91 percent of consumers agree it’s important to have fresh chicken produced and labeled ‘raised without antibiotics’,” Bond said.

Tyson uses therapeutic antibiotics in flocks to treat or prevent disease, according to a company statement. The company said that it will continue to use antibiotics to treat birds for therapeutic reasons. Products from treated flocks will continue to be produced, but these will not be packed under the “Raised Without Antibiotics” label. Tyson will promote its antibiotic-free product line with new packaging and a $70 million advertising and promotion plan.

Advertisement

“Raised Without Antibiotics” birds will cost more to produce, but Tyson’s market research has shown that consumers are willing to pay a premium in excess of this additional cost, the company said. Tyson expects its premium for the antibiotic-free products to be less than the premiums charged by most competing niche brands.

Tyson is the second largest processor of chicken in the USA and is the largest poultry company to take the plunge into the production of antibiotic-free chicken and marketing it under its main brand.