Cargill to Phase Out Growth-Promoting Antibiotics in Turkey

By Frazer Jones
Cargill made a major announcement this week – the food processing company announced that its Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms turkey brands...

Cargill made a major announcement this week – the food processing company announced that its Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms turkey brands will be ceasing the use of growth-promoting antibiotics across all suppliers farms that it works with, and that these new less-medicated turkeys will be available for consumers as early as Thanksgiving.

“Consumer research tells us people are more interested than ever in where their food comes from and how it is produced,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, president of the Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats business, in a press release issued by the brand. “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.” 

But what does is mean that Cargill will no longer be using growth-promoting antibiotics? It means that Cargill’s turkeys won’t be antibiotic free – only that Cargill suppliers are to stick to antibiotics used for disease treatment and prevention purposes. This has some experts worried that antibiotic use won’t really decrease too much at all, but will just be diverted in name to stay ahead of FDA regulations to phase out unnecessary antibiotic use.

Nonetheless, Cargill executives are hoping that consumers will be satisfied with the change and will consider that difference when choosing a turkey for the holidays. “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,” Kimmelshue said. “All Cargill turkey flocks will be free of growth-promoting antibiotics by the end of 2015.”




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