US - One of the US's largest chicken producers, Sanderson Farms, has said its new advertising campaign aims to expose what it calls marketing gimmicks designed to mislead consumers and sell products at a higher price.
In recent months a number of companies have vowed only to use chicken raised without antibiotics in their products in future, and chicken companies have launched new 'zero antibiotics' products to cater for the demand created by rising consumer awareness of the global drug resistance problem.
While the company said that antibiotic resistance is an issue that must be taken seriously, it said the issue is thought to be more related to overuse and over-prescription of antibiotics in humans than use of the drugs in animal agriculture.
Joe F. Sanderson Jr, CEO and chairman of the board for Sanderson Farms, said: "Some in the industry, by way of their labels and advertising efforts, have misled consumers to believe that only their chicken is raised cage free and is free of antibiotics and added hormones.
"The fact is that FDA [Food and Drug Administration] regulations require all chicken made available for purchase be free of antibiotic residues and the use of added hormones has been illegal since the 1950s.”
Sanderson Farms said its position is supported by experts across the industry, including the company's corporate veterinarian Phil Stayer DVM.
“The truth is, we have not seen any credible scientific research to support the idea that the judicious use of antibiotics in chicken contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance in humans,” Dr Stayer said.
“At Sanderson Farms, we believe we have a moral responsibility to protect the welfare of our animals, and as veterinarians, we have taken an oath to relieve the suffering of animals, particularly those under our supervision. It’s simply the humane thing to do.”ThePoultrySite News Desk