Chicken or the Egg?
Posted on May 2, 2008
Tyson Foods was ordered by a judge Thursday to cease a false multimillion-dollar ad campaign promoting its claim that its chickens are “raised without antibiotics.” The key question centers on the word raised and whether the egg stage can be considered to be outside the process of raising chickens.
The Washington Post:
Poultry giant Tyson Foods has 14 days to dismantle a national multimillion dollar ad campaign centered on the claim that its chickens are raised without antibiotics, a federal appeals court in Richmond ruled yesterday [Thursday].
The ruling is a setback for Tyson in its ongoing battle with two of its competitors Sanderson Farms, based in Laurel, Miss., and Perdue Farms, based in Salisbury, Md. The two companies jointly sought an injunction to stop Tyson’s ad campaign, arguing the “raised without antibiotics” claim misleads consumers by making it appear Tyson’s chicken is safer or more healthful.
Then during trial in federal court in Baltimore, Tyson officials acknowledged they also inject eggs several days before they hatch with antibiotics that are approved for use in humans. Dave Hogberg, Tyson’s senior vice president for consumer products, said it is a common industry practice.
Hogberg said injecting eggs with antibiotics did not undermine the “raised without antibiotic” label because the term “raised” is understood to cover the period that begins with hatching.
Tyson Foods, the meat and poultry slaughter giant, thinks injecting antibiotics into an egg, left, is different from injecting a chicken, right.