At Cargill, we are committed to reducing the use of human antibiotics in food production and expanding our antibiotic-free meat and poultry offerings. Antibiotics have been used for many years to treat and prevent animal diseases and to efficiently raise livestock for food. There is ongoing scientific debate whether the use of antibiotics in animals can adversely affect human health by increasing the resistance of disease-causing microbes.
Concerns about potential public health implications have led a number of jurisdictions, including the U.S. and the EU, to limit the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, for instance, through bans on the use of growth-promoting antibiotics. In response to consumer demands, some foodservice companies, food manufacturers and food retailers have required their suppliers to reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics. Meat and poultry companies, including Cargill, are increasingly offering antibiotic-free products in addition to traditionally produced goods.
- Cargill is working on further expansion of its antibiotic-free animal protein product range. We invest in research and innovation focused on reducing the need to use antibiotics while maintaining our commitment to animal welfare and the production of safe, nutritious, affordable food.
- While supporting antibiotic reductions, we also believe the judicious therapeutic use of animal antibiotics helps maintain the safety of world food supplies. Judicious use prevents sick animals from entering the food supply and ensures animals do not unnecessarily suffer from disease.
- We promote transparency in antibiotic use and work with stakeholders to develop metrics to measure use. We will share our progress toward fulfilling our antibiotic reduction commitments with the public.
Cargill is exploring alternatives to reduce the need for animal antibiotics through better animal husbandry practices and through innovations in animal diets. Here are some of the things we’ve done:
- In 2016, Cargill eliminated 20 percent of antibiotics that are also used in human medicine from its beef cattle feed yards and those of its partner Friona Industries. The move affects approximately 1.2 million animals per year.
- In 2015, Cargill’s Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms became the first major turkey brands to eliminate the use of growth-promoting antibiotics. We also offer 100 percent antibiotic-free turkey products.
- Cargill researchers have discovered that essential oils are a viable alternative to some antibiotics used in poultry. They improve gut health and help birds grow faster. Cargill now offers the Promote® Biacid™ Nucleus feed additive with essential oils where it is approved.