The ‘No Antibiotics Ever’ policy of US poultry producer, Perdue Farms, is to be extended to include its entire frozen, refrigerated and fresh value-added chicken products and all of its foodservice turkey items.
Perdue made the announcement during the 2016 Annual Meat Conference in Nashville.
The transition, taking place now, will make Perdue the first major brand to convert all of its value-added chicken products to ‘No Antibiotics Ever’, providing consumers with choices in every category – fresh, refrigerated and frozen. Products will hit shelves this month, with the conversion continuing through May.
The conversion to ‘No Antibiotics Ever’ for all foodservice turkey items means that more than 150 items are now available to independent operators through foodservice distributors across the country. The foodservice turkey items join a complete line of menu-ready chicken distributed under the Perdue Harverstland and other foodservice brands.
Less than a year after eliminating the routine use of human antibiotics in its chicken production, US poultry producer, Perdue Farms has announced it is now raising more than half its chickens with no antibiotics of any kind – human or animal.
Eric Christianson, senior vice president of marketing and innovation, explains the scale of Perdue’s latest advancement in antibiotic free consumer products: “In the retail sector, we’re converting all branded refrigerated and frozen convenience products to ‘No Antibiotics Ever’, bringing the total number of products with the claim to more than 200.
In just a few months, we will take NAE mainstream, moving it beyond select fresh items and niche brands and making chicken products available everywhere consumers shop for chicken in the grocery store. The combination of converting our everyday, go-to Perdue products to antibiotic free represents a significant transformation in the market. We’re raising the bar on the choices consumers can expect right now.”
The announcement follows the company’s continued leadership in minimising antibiotic use: two-thirds of the company’s chickens are now raised without any antibiotics of any kind, up from 50% 6 months ago. And although raising turkey without antibiotics is more difficult than chicken, Perdue has nonetheless converted more than half of its turkey raising to NAE, a major shift in turkey production practices.
The reduction of antibiotics in livestock production is an inevitability. The question is now how and when it will be achieved and to what extent. What is clear is that there can be no shortcuts in this process.
The increase in NAE chicken and turkey production marks further milestones in Perdue’s progression away from antibiotic use. In 2014, Perdue became the first major chicken company to eliminate the routine use of all human antibiotics from every production step, proving that producers did not need to rely on antibiotics to raise healthy chickens. The company eliminated antibiotic use for growth promotion in 2007.
Other major companies are dedicating a small portion of their products to be raised without antibiotics, or promising future reductions in antibiotic use. Perdue, however, has already converted the majority of its production to NAE, and is now distributing a full range of products under its marquee brands.