Antibiotic Use in Chicken Production

June 7, 2012

NCC Position on Antibiotic Use in Chicken Production

The top priority for U.S. chicken farmers and processors is to raise healthy, top quality birds, because doing so is not only an ethical obligation, it is the foundation of a safe and wholesome chicken supply.

One of the tools in the toolbox to ensure animal health and produce wholesome animal protein is the limited use of FDA-approved antibiotics, with veterinary oversight, to treat and prevent disease. The National Chicken Council supports the judicious use of antibiotics as a critical element not only in maintaining good animal health but also in helping ensure the welfare of animals in a producer’s care.

Poultry producers follow label instructions for the administration of approved antibiotics and adhere to strict withdrawal procedures. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, through the National Residue Program (NRP), tests animal tissues and egg products for more than 90 compounds to verify that tolerances or action levels are not violated.

The majority of the antibiotics that may be used in poultry production are not used in human medicine. The National Chicken Council, and many in the medical, veterinary and agricultural fields, question any substantive link between veterinary use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in humans.  There are several published, peer-reviewed risk assessments showing any threat to human health from antibiotic use in livestock and poultry production is negligible, if it exists at all.

November 2013

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