LAUREL, Miss.— Sanderson Farms, Inc.—the third-largest chicken producer in the nation—today announced it will stop using two medically important antibiotics unnecessarily in its chickens by March 1, 2019, instead reserving them only to treat sick animals or to control a disease in flocks where some of the birds are sick. The company did not state whether or not an independent third party would verify its practices, which is a key component of a strong antibiotics policy.
Sanderson reports that it does not use any other medically important antibiotics beyond the two it will eliminate next year. Third-party verification will be especially important to ensure no others are being used improperly across all operations.
A statement follows from David Wallinga, MD, Senior Health Officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“This a welcome change of heart, and good news for people’s health. To inspire consumer confidence, however, these new pledges will need to be independently verified. As one of the nation’s biggest chicken producers, Sanderson Farms’ antibiotic practices have a big impact. Curbing overuse of these life-saving drugs will help keeping them working when sick people or animals truly need them.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization witha more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.