- Tyson Foods Inc. will now target schools, hospitals, and other institutions with a new policy for antibiotics use in poultry, the Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use standard.
- School Food FOCUS and Pew Charitable Trusts created the new standard, in which Tyson will only use antibiotics when necessary to manage and alleviate disease.
- This new standard comes recently after the company initially announced it would stop using human-use antibiotics for its chickens by 2017.
Meat producers cutting the use of antibiotics in farm animals is a more common approach. These initiatives seem to be in response to consumers' health concerns about how heavy use of antibiotics in animals could create superbugs that may have serious effects on humans as well. This is crucial as antibiotics use for animals in general is currently on the rise, according to an FDA report released last month.
Chicken is the most common meat used for school lunches, according to the Wall Street Journal. Offering chicken produced with a limited and mindful use of antibiotics gives schools another option, as completely antibiotic-free chicken can be expensive, and some schools may not be able to afford it. Tyson is the first company to adopt the school-friendly certification, which was approved by the USDA. The certification was created by School Food FOCUS and Pew along with the National Procurement Initiative, a group of school districts that are working to shift their chicken supply chains to healthier and more sustainably produced foods.
The groups backing Tyson's new standard hope that this move will help inspire more meat producers to follow Tyson's lead and reduce their own use of antibiotics.
In other news, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has proposed new regulations that would make it unlawful for veal calves that cannot walk to be slaughtered for food. The agency believes this will protect the calves from potential mistreatment, which could be why they can't walk. Under the new regulations, those calves would be euthanized instead.