Yonkers, N.Y. — Sanderson Farms, the nation’s third-largest chicken producer, today announced that it will discontinue by March 1, 2019, using antibiotics considered medically important for humans for disease prevention in its live poultry operations.
Sanderson’s new policy reverses its previous stance, which included ads that criticized other companies for promoting foods “raised without antibiotics.”
Consumer Reports, which has long advocated for producers to end the routine use of antibiotics in animals raised for food, said the announcement is great news for consumers.
Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumer Reports, said, “This is an extraordinary and most welcome change. Antibiotic resistance is a crisis. At least 23,000 people die annually in the U.S. from infections that used to be curable by antibiotics, but no longer are, according to the Center for Disease Control. It is essential to reduce all unnecessary antibiotic use, and so it is most encouraging that Sanderson has changed its policy.”
Sanderson is the last of the five major chicken producers to limit use of medically important antibiotics in its chicken.
Sanderson supplies a number of major fast food chains, many of which are now demanding chicken raised without medically important antibiotics. A recent report, Chain Reaction IV, co-authored by Consumer Reports, found that 18 of the top 25 fast food chains have some policies in place limiting antibiotic use in the food they serve. This is up from just 5 chains with antibiotics policies just four years ago.
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