Tyson to Appeal Chicken Advertising Injunction; Company officials maintain they have acted properly and in compliance
Springdale, Arkansas.–Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) pledges to continue providing consumers with chicken raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans, despite a legal challenge by two competitors.
Tyson will appeal the ruling of a federal judge in Baltimore, who has granted a preliminary injunction against the advertising Tyson uses to promote this line of products. The company will also seek a stay to suspend the judge’s instruction to remove point of sale materials in stores that sell the products.
“We strongly disagree with this decision and will appeal since we firmly believe we have acted responsibly in the way we have labeled and marketed our products,” said Dave Hogberg, senior vice president of Consumer Products for Tyson Foods. The company will now take the legal dispute to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.
“Our company has complied with federal regulations throughout the development of this product line and we intend to stand our ground,” Hogberg said, “Our chicken raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans is more than a labeling and marketing program. It also represents a change in the way our chickens are raised, as we work to provide the kind of product nine out of ten of consumers tell us they want.”
After extensive consumer research and the appropriate government approvals, Tyson started marketing its retail fresh chicken under a USDA accepted “Raised Without Antibiotics” label in summer 2007. After the USDA claimed an error in its approval of a fully-disclosed antimicrobial feed ingredient under the claim, the company later sought and received approval for a modified label, which reads “Raised Without Antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans.”
The preliminary injunction does not affect the USDA-approved product label used on Tyson’s retail fresh chicken products. It does affect Tyson advertising of the products, however, the company is not currently running any ads and has none scheduled. Company officials were not planning to resume advertising for the campaign until just before the start of the summer grilling season. The decision also affects point of sale materials, such as posters and brochures, which are used in stores where the product is sold. Since this issue directly impacts consumers and customers, the company intends to seek a stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals to suspend the judge’s order.
“We’ve received overwhelming customer support for this product line and intend to do everything possible to continue making it available to our customers and consumers,” said Scott Rouse, senior vice president of Customer Development for Tyson Foods.
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