Foster Farms has joined the ranks of other poultry companies, including Perdue and Tyson Foods, with its recent declaration to eliminate critical antibiotics used for humans in its operations.
This was received enthusiastically by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which spent more than a year with other public interest groups calling for Foster Farms to take this step to phase out routine use of antibiotics.
According to NRDC Food and Agriculture Director Jonathan Kaplan, Foster Farm’s announcement comes as good news since antibiotic resistance has increasingly become a problem as critical life-saving antibiotics are beginning to fail due to excessive antibiotic use in human medicine and livestock production.
Foster Farms is introducing two new product lines, Foster Farms Certified Organic and Foster Farms Simply Raised antibiotic-free chicken at major retailers throughout the West, making the family-owned company the largest producer of USDA certified organic and antibiotic-free chicken in the Western United States.
As part of Foster Farms’ commitment to responsible production and continuous advancement, the company has tripled its production of chicken raised without any antibiotics since 2014. Foster Farms has already eliminated antibiotics that are critical to human medicine in all of its chicken production companywide and is working to eliminate the use of all human antibiotics.
Its practices will be independently audited to ensure compliance with the stated objectives of its antibiotic stewardship policy.
On Tuesday, company executives will join national leaders in human and animal health and federal government representatives at the White House for the One Health Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship.
Foster Farms Simply Raised and Foster Farms Certified Organic chicken are produced without any antibiotics and represent a new generation of offerings from the 76-year old company. Foster Farms Simply Raised fresh chicken is 100 percent vegetarian fed. Foster Farms Organic fresh chicken is USDA-certified, raised free-range on organic land and is organic vegetarian fed.
The company’s three major product lines now include locally raised, American Humane CertifiedTM, Fresh & Natural, Simply Raised, and Certified Organic fresh chicken. Each line continues the brand’s legacy of providing West Coast-grown fresh poultry that is all natural with no additives, preservatives or sodium enhancers.
Foster Farms has steadily reduced antibiotic use companywide while adjusting its production and capital investment strategy to increase the number of ranches producing chicken raised without antibiotics.
"Our company is committed to responsible growing practices that help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for human health and medicine,” said Ron Foster, CEO and President of Foster Farms. “We take a holistic approach to antibiotic stewardship.
“Our goal has been three-fold: reduce the need for medical treatment by advancing bird health; choose animal-only antibiotics when needed for conventional flocks; and increase antibiotic-free production,” continued Foster. “Our progress can be seen in local supermarkets today. West Coast consumers now have greater access to locally grown organic and antibiotic-free chicken."
Foster Farms shares a common goal with medical, government and industry leaders in working to curb antibiotic-resistance in humans that may be linked to livestock production. The company’s antibiotic stewardship policy for broiler chickens is available at FosterFarms.com/about/antibiotic-stewardship.asp
As was detailed by Foster Farms, there are several key aspects within the policy, including the fact that Foster Farms has already eliminated the use of antibiotics critical to human medicine companywide and is currently working towards a goal of eliminating the use of all antibiotics that are used in human medicine, except in instances where the clinical health of a flock is at risk.
Other aspects noted that Foster Farms does not use antibiotics at any of its hatcheries, antibiotics are not used for growth promotion or improved feed efficiency, and medical care will be overseen by a licensed veterinarian when disease treatment is necessary.