Antibiotics, Hormones & Steroids

We’re committed to raising the livestock and poultry we depend on responsibly. That means using antibiotics only when needed.

Poultry Housing

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.

All chickens raised for the Tyson® retail brand are grown without using any antibiotics – ever. For consumers who want beef or pork 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) beef and pork products through our Open Prairie® Natural Angus and Natural Pork brands.

Explore NatureRaised Farms® brand
Explore Open Prairie ® brand

See our 2017 Sustainability Report.

Hormones & Steroids

Hormones and steroids

Tyson Foods does not allow hormones or steroids to be added to the 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. In accordance with federal law, we prohibit the use of added hormones 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. Open Prairie® Natural Angus beef and Natural pork brands are also a great choice for consumers who want beef and pork from animals that have never been given growth promoting hormones (birth to harvest).

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 pork, chicken or turkey production.

Our chickens and turkeys do not receive added hormones or steroids. 

The hogs we purchase have never received added hormones. 

Our Open Prairie® Natural Angus beef and Natural pork brands comes from cattle and hogs that have never been given growth promoting hormones.