Sanderson Farms, Inc. seeks to educate the public on common misconceptions surrounding the use of antibiotics in poultry production, through a new ad campaign, while exposing marketing gimmicks designed to mislead consumers and sell products at a higher price.
“At Sanderson Farms, we have a responsibility to empower consumers to make informed decisions by debunking the myths perpetuated through the media and the unfortunate use of misleading labels,” said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., CEO and chairman of the board for Sanderson Farms. “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 regulations require all chicken made available for purchase be free of antibiotic residues and the use of added hormones has been illegal since the 1950’s.”
“As long as scientific research indicates that antibiotics are safe and healthy, we’ll continue to make the right decision when it comes to how we raise our chickens for our customers. Sanderson Farms’ number one priority continues to be providing our consumers with safe, wholesome, high-quality chicken,” Sanderson concluded.
Sanderson Farms’ position on the responsible use of antibiotics is supported by experts across the industry who agree with their position on the responsible use of antibiotics in food-producing animals. This includes a full range of specially-trained veterinary scientists and nutritionists that continuously research and study the best practices for maintaining the best health and well-being of flocks raised for food.
“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,” said Dr. Phil Stayer, DVM, corporate veterinarian for Sanderson Farms. “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.”
“We have an obligation to our customers to raise healthy chickens, and in turn, provide a safe food supply,” continued Dr. Stayer. “It has been proven that maintaining chicken flock health is directly related to improved food safety.”
The judicious use of antibiotics is also considered an acceptable form of treatment or prevention of disease in food-producing animals by many industry organizations, including the National Chicken Council, American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Meat Institute, the American Association of Avian Pathologists and the Federation of Animal Science Societies.
While Sanderson Farms recognizes that antibiotic resistance is an issue that must be taken seriously, many industry experts agree the issue is related to the overuse and over-prescription of antibiotics in humans, and more closely linked to medical institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes, rather than agricultural processes that have been in place for decades.