December 7, 2019

Livestock Producers Listening To “Consumer Votes”

Wall Street Journal writer Jacob Bunge reported earlier this week that, “Perdue Farms Inc. plans by June to eliminate antibiotics used in chicken it sells as nuggets and strips in supermarkets across the U.S., significantly escalating a nascent industry response to concerns about such use.

“Perdue expects the change to roughly triple the no-antibiotic portion of such precooked and seasoned products at U.S. supermarkets. Converting Perdue’s name-brand lines of chicken products will make it the largest grocery-store supplier of poultry raised without antibiotics, the Salisbury, Md. company said.”

The Journal article noted that, “A growing number of other chicken producers have also announced plans to curb antibiotic use, and restaurant chains including McDonald’s Corp., Chick-fil-A Inc. and Subway have said they would reduce or eliminate antibiotic use by their suppliers.

“‘Consumers have voted,’ said Eric Christianson, head of marketing for Perdue. ‘We’re embracing it, because it’s what the consumer wants.'”

Mr. Bunge pointed out that, “Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meatpacker by sales, last year announced plans to largely eliminate antibiotics used in humans from its chicken supplies, as did Foster Farms, another major producer. Tyson added that it will explore making similar changes in its hog, cattle and turkey operations. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., the second-largest U.S. chicken processor, has projected that by 2019 one-quarter of its chicken would be raised without antibiotics.”

Keith Good

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