Statement of the National Chicken Council on Consumer Reports Antibiotics Story

November 18, 2015

Washington, D.C. – The National Chicken Council used today’s “report” by Consumer Reports about antibiotic use in animal agriculture as an opportunity to remind to remind consumers that any meat from chickens sold in the U.S. is free of antibiotics.  The USDA regulates withdrawal periods to ensure no meat bought in the store contains antibiotics or antibiotic residue from animals that may need medicine.

Secondly, as FDA has stated, “it is inaccurate and alarmist to define bacteria resistant to one, or even a few, antibiotics as ‘Superbugs’ if these same bacteria are still treatable by other commonly used antibiotics.”  Yet Consumer Reports continues to do so and once again provides no data to back-up their assertions.

The following statement can be attributed to Tom Super, National Chicken Council spokesman:

“Chicken producers are in the business of providing choice.  Whether it is traditional chicken, organic, free range or raised without antibiotics,  consumers have the ability to choose products that take into account many factors, including taste preference, personal values and affordability.

“The National Chicken Council believes medically important antibiotics should only be used on the farm to treat and prevent disease, and not be administered to promote growth.  We all have a role to play – including doctors and farmers – in preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics, both in humans and animals.  It is a responsibility chicken producers take seriously and we work continuously with animal health experts, farmers and veterinarians to determine when an antibiotic is really needed, for the health and wellbeing of an animal that may become sick.

“This is not a black and white issue, but chicken producers have proactively and voluntarily taken steps toward finding alternative ways to control disease while reducing antibiotic use; phasing out those most critical to human medicine.  Chicken producers have been a leader in this regard.  We support removing antibiotics for growth purposes that are critical to human medicine.  The industry has fully cooperated with FDA and many poultry producers are moving far in advance of regulatory deadlines for compliance.

“While minimally used in raising chickens, by December 2016, antibiotics that are important to human medicine will only be used to address disease, and not to promote growth, and will be used exclusively under the supervision and prescription of a veterinarian.

“Whatever chicken that consumers choose to purchase with their food dollars, they can be confident in its safety – Americans eat about 160 million servings of chicken every single day, and virtually all of those are consumed safely.  As a reminder to your viewers and readers, any possible bacteria, antibiotic resistant or not, is killed by proper cooking.”

For more information about how antibiotics are used, and not used, in chicken production, click here.

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