2018 Sustainability Report

Antibiotics in the Supply Chain

We’re committed to raising the livestock and poultry we depend on responsibly, which means using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.

Reducing Our Use Of Antibiotics

We have a responsibility to be a part of the solution that addresses stakeholder concerns about antibiotic resistance and the impact of overuse of antibiotics on animal welfare. We have ongoing efforts with independent farmers and others in the company’s cattle, hog and turkey supply chains to discuss ways to reduce the use of human antibiotics on cattle, hog and turkey farms.

In FY2019 Tyson joined an initiative being developed by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research [FFAR] that will support outcomes-driven research and training related to antimicrobial stewardship on farm. This group of global stakeholders will collaborate and support critical research to produce practical applications to address antimicrobial resistance. While still in its infancy, we are very excited to embark on this journey with FFAR, as we believe it is our responsibility to support the industry with this endeavor and achieve sustainable results.

Nursing PIg

Cow Herd

Cattle & Pigs

Healthy animals mean safe and healthy food, so we’re committed to making sure the livestock we depend on is raised responsibly. We work with our suppliers on implementing best practices to ensure proper health and well-being. This includes working closely with veterinarians and nutritionists and following guidance set forth in the Pork Quality Assurance and Beef Quality Assurance programs, which provide guidelines for responsible antibiotic use. We expect all suppliers to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including those established through FDA Guidance 209 and 213.

While we have an obligation to treat sick animals and animal welfare will never be compromised, we must find new ways to reduce the need for human antibiotics on the farm. Our beef and pork supply chains are not vertically integrated and, therefore, we have less visibility into and control over how antibiotics are used by the independent farmers from which we buy livestock. Furthermore, there currently is not a reliable system available to obtain and track antibiotic use data at the farm level. To address the issue on a broader scale, we work with food industry, government, veterinary, public health and academic communities, and provide funding to accelerate research into disease prevention and antibiotic alternatives on the farm.

For consumers who want beef or pork from farm animals that have never been given antibiotics for any purpose, we offer a line of all natural (no artificial ingredients, vegetarian diet, minimally processed) beef and pork products through our Open Prairie® Natural Angus and Natural Pork brand.


Learn more about Tyson’s policy on the use of steroids and hormones

Steroid and Hormone Use

karen christensen

Chicken Supply Chain

All chickens raised for the Tyson® retail brand are raised without using any antibiotics, making us the world’s largest producer of No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) chicken.. This means these chickens are never given antibiotics in any phase of their lives – from egg to market age. We’ve made significant progress in eliminating the use of antibiotics that are also important to human medicine from chicken production.

In 2018, we made additional progress in our efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics in our Tyson® branded products and through the non-Tyson® brands we choose to produce and market.

Using Antibiotics Only When Necessary

Just like people, chickens can become ill. If they do, it’s our obligation to treat them. We occasionally use antibiotics to help our chickens recover from illness, but never as a preventive measure. We start by using antibiotic alternatives that may include probiotics, essential oils and certain mineral salts. If these treatments don’t work, a veterinarian will provide a prescription for the appropriate antibiotic. In 2018, less than 1 percent of the chickens raised for Tyson Foods were treated on farms by veterinarians with shared-class antibiotics (those used for both animals and humans). We do not label chicken products as NAE if they have been treated with antibiotics.

When antibiotics are used to treat animals, we require our producers to raise their animals responsibly – including complying with all applicable laws relating to withdrawal time adherence. To ensure compliance with these laws and that all products are safe for human consumption, all of our meat and poultry harvest facilities have programs in place and participate in the FDA and USDA surveillance programs for drug residues.

Shared-Class Antibiotics
Used in Broiler Chicken

  • Total chickens raised without shared-class antibiotics
  • Purchased feed that included sharedclass antibiotics
  • Tyson Foods chickens treated on farms by veterinarians with shared-class antibiotics