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Cargill to Reduce Antibiotics in Beef

Jacob Bunge reported earlier this week at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Cargill Inc. plans to scale back antibiotics use in its U.S. cattle supply, one of the most significant steps yet among beef processors to reduce reliance on drugs used to treat human illnesses.

“The suburban Minneapolis company said it would eliminate one-fifth of such medically important antibiotics from cattle that Cargill processes into ground beef and steaks, affecting an estimated 1.2 million cattle annually.

“Cargill, which has previously taken steps to reduce antibiotics use in its U.S. turkey supply, is making the move in beef as more restaurants have announced plans to serve meat raised without antibiotics. Companies are responding to pressure from consumer groups and public health officials who have warned that widespread antibiotics use in animal agriculture and human medicine have helped bacteria evolve to resist antibiotics, potentially leaving doctors with fewer tools to treat some illnesses.”

For additional background on this issue, see this FarmPolicy update from last month.

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