Tyson Drops Misleading Ads Claiming Chicken Is Healthy
Tyson Foods has pulled a series of misleading ads that claim its chicken is “heart-healthy,” “natural,” and “naturally wholesome,” in the face of a lawsuit by PCRM charging the poultry giant with fraudulent advertising. Tyson is the world’s largest producer of chicken products.
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,” says PCRM senior counsel Daniel Kinburn. Americans currently eat more than 1 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 a “heart-healthy” set of outcomes.
Claims that commercially raised chickens are “natural” or “naturally wholesome” are similarly inaccurate. Like most major poultry concerns, Tyson raises chickens specifically bred for abnormally fast growth. “Broiler-fryer” chickens go from egg to market in only six weeks, during which time they are treated with antibiotics and kept in crowded, filthy, and inhumane conditions.
PCRM agreed to settle its suit this fall 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.
PCRM Online, December 2004