Monday, June 16, 2008

Tyson Sues USDA

In a new development in the “raised without antibiotics” chicken saga, the Wall Street Journal reported today that Tyson Foods has filed suit against the USDA, claiming itself to be the “victim of flawed regulatory procedures.”

The background on this issues was explained in an earlier post, Twists and Turns: Tyson’s Raised Without Antibiotics Claim.

As noted, the USDA recently learned that Tyson was using the antibiotic Gentamicin to prevent illness and death in its chicks, and as a result rescinded its approval of Tyson’s “raised without antibiotics” label.

Although Tyson initially said it was voluntarily withdrawing its label, it is now arguing that the USDA decision to rescind their approval was “arbitrary and capricious.”

The antibiotic is used in the Tyson hatcheries two or three days prior to the chicks hatch. Tyson argues that what happens prior to hatching is not part of “raising” the chicken. Instead, as the Journal reports, “Tyson says the correct interpretation of the word ‘raised’ should mean ‘the period between hatching and slaughter.’”

Tyson argues that inoculating the chicks “in ovo” is consistent with the claim because they have not hatched yet.

In a related development, the California law firm of Girard Gibbs is conducting an investigation on behalf of consumers who purchased Tyson chicken advertised or labeled as “raised without antibiotics.” Presumably this is in anticipation of a class action lawsuit.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tyson knew their chickens were being raised with antibiotics. They have enough vets on their payroll to know the truth without having this lame excuse of "the USDA said it was okay..." They actually paid money for the antibiotics. They were greedy for the antibiotic free business, had no problem with lying to the public to get a sale.

If they want to use the excuse that someone told them they could get away with a lie, they should look at their own lawyers. They have hired Austin Sibley and..... on more than one occasion (in the Pickett case, this law firm got them out of paying for a 1.48 billion dollar jury verdict), the law firm that has many, many attorneys who were staffers for the Supreme Court justices. It isn't that Tyson doesn't know the truth, they believe they can get away with anything, and up until this point, they pretty much have. Hiring the right law firm with connections still doesn't buy you the truth. It is unfortunate that Tyson thinks they have to blame their lies on someone else. I guess that is what you can do if you are a billionaire with ties to a former president. It is too bad President Clinton pardoned Tyson's Archie Schafer for bribing the Secretary of Agriculture in his administration. When you get away with so much, it just seems you can just do anything.

7/12/2008 8:53 PM  
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