Consumer Reports, a survey company, revealed this week that the public were confused about the labelling of meat and whether antibiotics have been used.
The National Chicken Council (NCC) said it wanted to remind consumers that any meat sold in the US is free of antibiotics. It revealed that the USDA regulates withdraw periods to ensure that no meat bought in store contains antibiotics and antibiotics residue.
“Chicken producers are in the business of providing choice,” said Tom Super, National Chicken Council (NCC) spokesman. “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 NCC 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.”
Meanwhile the National Pork Board reiterated the proactive steps the US pork industry has taken to ensure responsible antibiotic use on pig farms. Pork industry leaders said that calls by some various organisations to end antibiotic use on farms are misguided and would have a negative impact on food safety.
‘People are confused’
“We understand people are confused about the role of antibiotics in meat production and, unfortunately, recently released reports only add to that confusion,” said Dr Jennifer Koeman, doctor of veterinarian medicine and director of producer and public health at National Pork Board. “It’s simple – when you produce healthy livestock, you get safe food. The meat you eat is safe due to Food and Drug Administration rules on antibiotics and US Department of Agriculture testing of meat.”
The National Pork Board is implementing a plan of action focused on antibiotic use. This includes establishing a blue ribbon panel on antibiotics which includes seven experts with specific experience and knowledge in antibiotic practices or consumer marketing. It is also looking to educate America’s pig farmers on new rules for the use of medically important antibiotics as well as sharing the efforts to responsibly use antibiotics with food chain partners.