- Pilgrim's Pride announced it will stop using all antibiotics in about 25% of its chicken production by 2019, five times as much chicken as is currently antibiotic-free.
- Per consumers' and health officials' concerns, the company is also in the process of eliminating use of antibiotics specifically meant for human illnesses, as these have been linked to the spread of drug-resistant germs.
- This plan of action is one of the most extensive taken by a poultry company in the U.S.
Increasingly concerned about the prevalence of antibiotics in the country's meat supply, some consumers and even legislators are demanding that farmers stop using the drugs for their livestock.
Farmers say they need the antibiotics to keep their livestock healthy and to prevent the spread of disease, but antibiotics can also promote the animals' growth and improve feed efficiency, which is part of the cause for controversy. The FDA reported that antibiotics sales in the U.S. increased by 20% from 2009 to 2013 for a total of 32.6 million pounds of antibiotics sold in the U.S. for an approved use in animals in 2013.