It’s probably not hard to imagine the perceptions the public has about the poultry industry — from the living conditions to the medication to the processing steps. Even the chicken nugget, a staple in the diet of many young children in America, has been heavily scrutinized. Tyson Foods, a major player in chicken production, is hoping to change people’s minds by opening up their doors.
The company announced a documentary series to show how Tyson’s products are made. The first video in the series, filmed by Daniel Junge, recently launched, with the remaining videos rolling out online and across social media over the next several weeks. This is the first video:
Junge met with farmers and their families, plant workers, chefs, animal well-being experts, veterinarians, hatchery managers, truck drivers and others. He also met with the company’s namesake and chairman, John Tyson.
“I was excited to go where cameras aren’t typically allowed,” Junge said. “To go behind the scenes of a big chicken producer is intriguing to me. I was interested in seeing the reality behind a lot of the stories you hear about ‘big food’ and was impressed with the access Tyson Foods provided me to do exactly that.”
In typical game-show fashion: Yet that’s not all Tyson is doing …
The company is appealing to public sentiment by eliminating antibiotics from all stages of a chicken’s life in its retail products. This is something rival Perdue has already done, and Tyson is surely trying to keep pace with them. Of course, it’s already illegal for antibiotics to be present in the farm products on your grocery store shelves (animals given antibiotics go through withdrawal periods before being approved for sale), so promoting the birds as “No Antibiotics Ever” really doesn’t affect the end edible result.
Companies throughout ag look to improve the healthfulness of their poultry flocks by using a variety of management tools, including: more individualized nutrition plans; the use of probiotics and vaccines; barns with better air circulation and temperature controls; and additional training programs and education efforts for farmers and service technicians.
Tyson’s start-to-finish antibiotics-free products are on some store shelves now.