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Tyson Court Victory over Poultry Competitors

by 5m Editor
28 January 2008, at 10:18am

US – US poultry giant Tyson Foods has won a court victory over several poultry industry competitors who it says were seeking to disrupt the company’s retail chicken advertising programme.

Sanderson Farms, Foster Farms and Perdue Farms filed a motion on Friday for a temporary restraining order prohibiting Tyson from continuing its Raised Without Antibiotics chicken marketing programme.

Tyson said they claimed the programme, which is in the middle of its run, contains incorrect information. However, Judge Catherine Blake of US District Court in Baltimore, denied the competitors' motion.


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The court’s decision to reject our competitors’ request strengthens our conviction we have acted properly in the way we’ve handled our marketing programme
Dave Hogberg, senior vice president of Consumer Products for Tyson Foods

She indicated they failed to provide sufficient evidence to support their case.

She also noted Tyson worked cooperatively with USDA to reach an agreement about modifying the company’s original Raised Without Antibiotics programme, allowing the company to transition in an "orderly fashion".

"The court’s decision to reject our competitors’ request strengthens our conviction we have acted properly in the way we’ve handled our marketing programme," said Dave Hogberg, senior vice president of Consumer Products for Tyson Foods.

"The decision also confirms our competitors have not demonstrated they have suffered any irreparable harm from our advertising, which was properly created and placed under our original USDA label approval.

"We don’t understand why our competitors seem so driven to prevent the dissemination of a product sold under a marketing claim that was and remains in full compliance with federal guidelines," he added.

"It also delivers a benefit and reassurance so important to the majority of consumers."

Tyson announced in December the company and USDA had agreed to a new and more informative labeling for the company’s Raised Without Antibiotics chicken programme. The new label will include the following language: "Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans."

The company has been in the process of changing its labelling and marketing materials to reflect this change.

As noted in court filings, Tyson made plans to change its advertising before ever being notified of concerns from its competitors. In fact, the Tyson television ads in question stopped airing before the competing companies even brought this matter to court.

Tyson currently expects to start using its new advertising and promotional materials in February.

5m Editor