Cargill Turkey Says No to Growth-Promoting Antibiotics

Cargill’s Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms are removing growth-promoting antibiotics from their turkeys across the independent farms they work with, without charging a premium price. Based on consumer research and feedback, these brands are pioneering efforts to provide families with affordable, turkey choices.

Cargill worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a three-part verification process for turkey production that exceeds all current government and industry standards:

  • All turkeys are raised by independent farmers
  • Producers are trained on proper animal handling practices
  • No antibiotics are used for growth promotion (antibiotics only used for treatment of illness and disease prevention)

“Consumer research tells us people are more interested than ever in where their food comes from and how it is produced,” says Ruth Kimmelshue, president of the Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats business. “We believe ending the use of antibiotics to promote growth in turkeys is an important step that provides consumers with nutritious and affordable options. Working with our broad network of independent farmers, Cargill has the experience, resources and capabilities to successfully make this change and meet the needs of our customers and consumers.”

Cargill’s initiative to remove growth-promoting antibiotics was reinforced last December when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a three-year plan to phase out the use of antibiotics that are medically important in human health and are also used to improve growth or feed efficiency in livestock and poultry.

“Fresh, whole turkeys raised without growth-promoting antibiotics will be available this Thanksgiving under Cargill’s signature brand labels, Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms,” says Kimmelshue. “All Cargill turkey flocks will be free of growth-promoting antibiotics by the end of 2015.”

Consumer concerns over responsible use of antibiotics in animal production has made many people more curious about how their food is produced, but only slightly more than half read nutrition labels or ingredient lists, say company officials, add that 62% of consumers would be very, or extremely, interested in purchasing turkey that has not received growth stimulants.

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