Antibiotics, Hormones & Steroids


We’re committed to raising the livestock and poultry we depend on responsibly. That means no added hormones, no added steroids, and using antibiotics only when needed and prescribed by a veterinarian.

CHicken farm

Finding alternatives to antibiotics

Our antibiotic alternatives include essential oils and botanicals — like oregano, thyme, yucca and peppers — in our broiler chicken production. We also use probiotics — like the good bacteria found in yogurt — as another antibiotic alternative to help with the chickens’ digestive health. We’re making significant progress in eliminating the use of antibiotics that are also important to human health from chicken production.

We have ongoing efforts with independent farmers and others in the company’s cattle, hog and turkey supply chains to discuss ways to reduce the use of human antibiotics on cattle, hog and turkey farms.

For consumers who want meat from farm animals that have never been given antibiotics for any purpose, we offer a line of all natural (no artificial ingredients, vegetarian diet, minimally processed) chicken under the NatureRaised Farms® brand and choices in beef through our Open Prairie® Natural Angus and Natural Pork brands.

Open Prairie® Natural Angus beef is also a great choice for consumers who want beef from animals that have never been given growth promoting hormones (birth to harvest).

Explore NatureRaised Farms® brand
Explore Open Prairie ® brand

See our 2017 Sustainability Report.

Hormones & Steroids

No added hormones or steroids

Tyson Foods does not add hormones or steroids to chickens or turkeys raised by the farmers who grow for our company. In fact, federal regulations prohibit the use of added hormones or steroids in chicken or turkey.

We buy livestock for our beef and pork plants from independent farmers and ranchers and expect them to raise their animals responsibly. Federal law prohibits the use of added hormones or growth promotants in hog production.

However, the federal government has recognized the role small amounts of hormones can have in making beef production more efficient, helping to keep beef affordable. Cattle farmers use small amounts of hormones to increase the rate of lean weight gain in animals, contributing to a sustainable food supply.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set strict tolerance levels for these hormones and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture carefully monitors beef for hormone residues.


Some of the livestock producers who supply us use the government-approved feed supplement Ractopamine (also known as a “beta-agonist”) to promote growth; improve feed efficiency and provide leaner meat. Government regulations outline the proper use of such animal health products. The USDA also routinely tests thousands of beef and pork carcasses each year for residues, including beta-agonists. Ractopamine is not used in our chicken or turkey production.


In 2013, we notified our cattle suppliers of our decision to suspend buying cattle given a government-approved feed supplement known as Zilmax. We observed that a small percentage of cattle delivered to some of our plants had difficulty walking. Some animal health experts have suggested the use of Zilmax as a possible cause. Our evaluation of this matter is ongoing.