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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE November 22, 2004

Tyson Drops Ad Claims that Chicken is

PCRM Lawsuit Successfully Challenges Tyson Advertising Campaigns

WASHINGTON—Tyson Foods has pulled a series of misleading ads claiming its chickens are “heart-healthy,” “natural,” and “naturally wholesome,” in the face of a lawsuit by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) charging the poultry giant with fraudulent advertising.

PCRM filed its complaint against Tyson Foods, Inc., in the Superior Court of California, San Francisco, last year, noting that Tyson had engaged in deceptive advertising practices by falsely representing the health and safety of its chicken products.

“The sad truth is that our growing appetite for chicken is a major contributor to the epidemic of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases sweeping this country,” said PCRM Senior Counsel Daniel Kinburn. Americans currently eat more than one million chickens per hour.

Kinburn noted that people eating chicken are at risk of heart disease, stroke, and even death because of high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat found in all chicken products—hardly “heart-healthy.”

Similarly, claims that commercially raised chickens are “natural” or “naturally wholesome” are inaccurate. Tyson, like most major poultry concerns, raises chickens specifically bred for abnormally fast growth—a typical “broiler-fryer” chicken goes from egg to market in only six weeks—treats them with antibiotics, and keeps them in crowded, filthy, and inhumane conditions.

PCRM agreed to settle its suit after a Tyson representative advised the court that it had decided to discontinue the ads in question and had no intention of running them in the future. In response, PCRM agreed to dismiss its suit voluntarily, while retaining the right to file a new action should Tyson renege on its agreement.

Tyson Foods, based in Arkansas, is the world’s largest producer of poultry products, producing annual sales in excess of $10 billion.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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