- Sanderson Farms has launched an ad campaign to address common misconceptions about antibiotic use in poultry production.
- The campaign aims to expose "marketing gimmicks designed to mislead consumers and sell products at a higher price," according to a news release.
- The company said it will continue responsibly using antibiotics to ensure its chickens are healthy and safe to consume for as long as scientific research says antibiotics are safe and healthy.
Those "marketing gimmicks," according to Sanderson Farms, include clearing up claims companies make that their chickens are raised cage free and free of antibiotics and added hormones. FDA regulations have required chickens meant for sale to be free of antibiotic residues, and using added hormones has been illegal for decades, Sanderson Farms Chairman and CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. said in a statement.
Sanderson Farms' antibiotics stance differs from that of several other major poultry producers, such as Tyson Foods, Pilgrim's Pride and Perdue, which have all committed to reducing or removing antibiotics from their chicken supply. That's in addition to natural and organic poultry companies, such as Hormel's Applegate Farms, which promote discontinuing use of antibiotics in food animals.
The continued reduction of antibiotics use for food animals comes amid concerns that exposure to antibiotics in food may lead to antibiotic resistance in humans.
However, Sanderson Farms has chosen to question that argument rather than change supply chain processes that it says could risk the welfare of its chickens, and thereby, consumers' safety. Sanderson Farms refutes the notion that "agricultural processes that have been in place for decades" are the primary cause of antibiotic resistance in humans and points instead to overuse and over-prescription of antibiotics by medical institutions and healthcare professionals, according to a news release.
The new campaign could potentially help other poultry companies beyond Sanderson Farms that are not able or choose not to reduce or eliminate antibiotic use for their chickens. While certain consumers may avoid purchasing chicken raised with antibiotics, others may recognize Sanderson Farms attempts to be more transparent and informative to clear up consumers' confusion over claims made on product packaging.