Less than a year after eliminating the routine use of human antibiotics in its chicken production, Perdue Farms announced July 8 that it is now raising more than half its chickens with no antibiotics of any kind – human or animal.
"We believe consumers are concerned about the use of all antibiotics, not just some. Through our No Antibiotics Ever chickens, we want to give them a choice that carries transparency and confidence," said chairman Jim Perdue.
Chicken companies typically use antibiotics four ways, according to Perdue. Human antibiotics are injected into the egg in the hatchery, put into the feed for faster growth promotion or mixed with the water or feed to treat or prevent disease. The fourth way is to use animal-only antibiotics.
"We completely eliminated the first two uses in September of 2014, and have improved the way we raise chickens so that 96% of our flocks never require treatment with a human antibiotic," explained Bruce Stewart Brown, DVM, Perdue's senior vice president of food safety, quality and live production. "However, we didn't stop there. We're going to continue to reduce our use of animal-only antibiotics, so that we're raising as many chickens as we can with no antibiotics of any kind – and offering that choice to consumers."
More Perdue No Antibiotics Ever products
To support this goal, the company has brought a full range of no-antibiotics-ever chicken products into mainline distribution under the Perdue name.
The company's introduction of fresh, no-antibiotics-ever chicken under the Perdue Simply Smart label adds to the existing line of frozen fully cooked and fresh fully cooked ready-to-eat Perdue Simply Smart products. The company's Harvestland label, which was recently rebranded as Perdue Harvestland, remains the most-widely distributed brand of no-antibiotics-ever chicken, turkey and pork. Perdue Perfect Portions boneless chicken products, which created an entirely new category of fresh chicken, has also moved to "No Antibiotics Ever."