Perdue Foods reached a milestone in reducing antibiotic use Wednesday, announcing the company has removed all antibiotics from the company’s chicken hatcheries.
“By no longer using any antibiotics in our hatcheries or any human antibiotics in feed, we've reached the point where 95 percent of our chickens never receive any human antibiotics, and the remainder receive them only for a few days when prescribed by a veterinarian,” said Bruce Stewart-Brown, senior vice president of food safety, quality and live operations for Perdue.
The company says it does not use antibiotics for growth promotion in its chicken production and has not done so since 2007.
According to Perdue, this step completes the latest part of a 12-year evolution in the company’s approach to antibiotic use which it set out to change in 2002 after growing concern from consumers.
“We recognized that the public was concerned about the potential impact of the use of these drugs on their ability to effectively treat humans,” said Stewart-Brown. “We focused first on removing growth-promoting antibiotics.”
In 2005, the company phased out the use of specific medically important antibiotics in its feeds, and by 2007, the company had successfully removed all human antibiotics from its feed.
The company says it still uses an animal-only antibiotic to control an intestinal parasite and will continue to use antibiotics to treat and control illness in sick flocks.