Comment on Tyson Foods and Antibiotics Use

Posted in News Release

Comment on Tyson Foods and Antibiotics Use from Jesse Goodman, MD, MPH

WASHIGNTON (April 28, 2015) — Today, Tyson issued a statement (new window) stating, in part, ““Given the progress we’ve already made reducing antibiotics in our broilers, we believe it’s realistic to shoot for zero by the end of our 2017 fiscal year.”

In response, Jesse L. Goodman, MD, MPH, commends Tyson’s for its latest action to eliminate antibiotic use in its poultry, and says more needs to be done to reduce antibiotic resistance.

Goodman is director of the Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship (COMPASS) at Georgetown University Medical Center where he is professor of medicine.  He also is former Chief Scientist at the FDA.

Goodman says, “Tyson is to be commended for taking major steps toward eliminating the routine use of antibiotics in its poultry.

“Antibiotic use in agriculture can select for resistant bugs that then pose a threat both to animals and humans. Because of this, antibiotics should not be used in food production for reasons such as promoting growth or preventing infection that could be prevented by better husbandry practices.

“It is encouraging to see the increasing consciousness both in industry and among consumers that antibiotics are precious resources and should only be used when necessary for the health of animals or people. These positive actions need to be followed up to ensure that their inappropriate use is eliminated throughout food production.

“Similarly, we must use antibiotics far more carefully in human medicine, when clearly needed, and not for infections, such as colds and other viruses, for which they do not work.”