Cargill announced it is eliminating 20 percent of shared-class antibiotics, those deemed important for human medicine and farm animals, from its four feed yards in Texas, Kansas and Colorado, and four additional feed yards operated by Friona Industries. The total number of cattle involved annually is approximately 1.2 million. This move comes after Cargill evaluated both existing third party research and research previously conducted by the company regarding reduced antibiotic use, and evaluated customer and consumer input.
“Our decision to eliminate 20 percent of the antibiotics used in our beef cattle, which are also used for human health, took into consideration customer and consumer desires to help ensure the long-term medical effectiveness of antibiotics for both people and animals,” says John Keating, president of Cargill’s Wichita-based beef business. “We need to balance those desires with our commitment to ensure the health of animals raised for food, which contributes to the production of safer food.”
Implementation of this decision builds upon Cargill’s 2014 decision to eliminate growth promoting antibiotics from its US turkey business, which was completed in time for the 2015 holiday turkey season. Cargill says it will also continue to explore alternatives to antibiotics that could further reduce their use in beef cattle.