The third-largest U.S. chicken producer’s decision is a step forward in addressing one of our top human health threats.
Sanderson Farms announced Friday that it will stop unnecessarily administering two medically important antibiotics—the only two it reports using—in its chickens by March 1, 2019. The company will use the two antibiotics only when treating ailing animals or to control diseases in flocks with some sick birds. “This is a welcome change of heart and good news for people’s health,” says David Wallinga, senior health officer at NRDC. “To inspire consumer confidence, however, these new pledges will need to be independently verified.”
Antibiotics overuse is one of the biggest human health threats of our time, according to public health officials. Many U.S. livestock producers regularly give animals antibiotics to help them survive stressful and unsanitary conditions. When these drugs are overused—by humans or animals—bacteria can turn into antibiotic-resistant superbugs, threatening the future effectiveness of these medicines.
“Curbing overuse of these life-saving drugs will help keeping them working when sick people or animals truly need them,” Wallinga says.