Tyson Foods Takes on the Challenge of Using Antibiotic-Free Pork

Feb 27, 2016 07:10 AM EST

A few months after Subway announced efforts to phase out antibiotics in all their meat products, Tyson Foods, announced their own efforts to do the same with their pork products. The company has already introduced a new meat label, namely, Open Prairie Natural Pork, which according to take part relies on meat from pigs raised without antibiotics. Tyson Foods also revealed that it would follow the industry trend to other meat products.

Ozlem Torpel, the company's brand manager, said in an interview, "We developed this brand to meet the growing demand for natural pork while allowing retailers to diversify product and give them a competitive edge."

There has been a dispute whether this trend would work or not. A lot of industry insiders even claim that it simply cannot be done. This is because the meat industry relies on antibiotics for disease prevention and growth promotion. The National Pork Producers Council claims that such a movement is unfair to farmers and inhumane to the animals themselves (because of the possibility of untimely death).

Regardless of the argument by industry leaders, a lot of consumers are definitely demanding for such a change. In the last year alone, 25 percent more Americans are looking for antibiotic-free meat. It was because of these demands that Tyson followed through with their antibiotic-free pork. Gary Mitchel, the spokesperson for the company, admitted in an interview at Quartz, "We believe in giving consumers options." However, they will still treat animals antibiotics if doctors advise it and said animal will simply be removed from the Open Prairie Natural Pork selection.

Industry insiders estimate that if this antibiotic-free movement does push through, then it is possible that Tyson could produce as many as 1 million antibiotic-free pork yearly. This new process is generating positive feedback, as well. Pew Charitable Trust commended the company by saying, "We think Tyson really has to be commended for this step."

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