Calling on Foster Farms to Demonstrate Antibiotic Stewardship in Chicken Operations

Letter
January 13, 2014

More than 30 health, environmental, animal welfare and consumer organizations are calling on Foster Farms to adopt stewardship practices for healthier chicken.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked Foster Farms chicken to the drug resistant Salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people and hospitalized more than one in three of those infected. According to the CDC, many of the Salmonella outbreak strains found in patients and in Foster Farms chicken were resistant to one or more commonly prescribed antibiotics. The spread of drug resistant bacteria throughout our communities and kitchens has threatened our health and contributed to the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance.

More than 80 percent of all antibiotics sales in the United States are purchased for raising livestock. When antibiotics are used repeatedly to speed animal growth or prevent disease in crowded, unsanitary feedlots or barns, some bacteria survive, become drug resistant and spread. Drug resistant bacteria can lead to longer illnesses, more hospitalizations, the use of drugs with greater side effects, and treatment failure. In its recent report "Antibiotic Resistance Threats," the CDC stated: "Up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe."