Sanderson Farms stands firm on antibiotic use in poultry
The CEO of US poultry producer, Sanderson Farms, has vowed not to eradicate the use of antibiotics in its poultry rearing practices, in a move which breaks the recent trend of other US companies.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Global Staples Forum, Joe Sanderson, chairman and chief executive officer of the poultry processor Sanderson Farms, said "This is not something that we take lightly, and frankly, after doing our homework, we do not plan to withdraw antibiotics from our program, and there are three main reasons".
Sanderson cited animal welfare as the first reason. Second, Sanderson said ceasing the use of antibiotics does not fit with his company's programs focused on sustainability and environmental responsibility. Finally, Sanderson said ceasing the use of antibiotics would have an effect on his company's food safety efforts.
A main concern voiced by Sanderson was the control of enteritis and he said there is nothing currently available or coming in the future to address the condition. Also he couldn't imagine "having a diagnosis, knowing what's wrong with them and not taking care of them."
"Particularly when there's no evidence whatsoever that using these antibiotics really does cause antibiotic resistant bacteria," he said. "There's no evidence. And even the people that have made the announcements that they were going to stop using antibiotics say there's no evidence that this causes antibiotic resistant bacteria."
Going against the grain
Sanderson's views are opposed to the current movement by other US chicken processors such as Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms who have both announced plans to shift away from the use of antibiotics in poultry production.
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