Tyson Foods has been ordered to stop using ads suggesting its chickens are drug-free.
A federal judge in Baltimore determined a Tyson advertising campaign is misleading consumers into believing that the poultry giant is raising its chickens drug-free, according to the Baltimore Sun. The lawsuit was filed against the company by Salisbury-based Perdue Farms and Sanderson Farms of Mississippi, competitors of Tyson.
According to the article, the plaintiffs claim that they're losing millions of dollars to Tyson because its advertising falsely claims that the company's birds are not medicated.
The writer states: "All three producers feed their chickens food containing antibiotic 'ionophores,' which prevent intestinal illness and are largely considered harmless antibiotics. But Tyson is the only one implying that its chickens are safer for consumers to eat. The case has highlighted concerns about food safety and how companies use marketing tactics to gain an edge over competitors."
Judge Richard D. Bennett said Tyson must remove any advertising from grocery stores and elsewhere that highlights the medical claim.
The case brings to mind the ongoing legal battles of Monsanto, the nation's only manufacturer of rBGH, the artificial growth hormone given to cattle to make them produce more milk. Monsanto prefers less information; the company is fighting milk producers who place labels on containers stating that their milk was made from cows not treated with rBGH. Monsanto claims such labels imply treated milk is less safe.
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