A few years ago, Panera Bread and Chipotle kicked off the rush to go antibiotic-free with chicken. Now that mantle has been picked up by Perdue Farms and it looks like antibiotic-free poultry is poised for a mainstream breakthrough.
Perdue beats archrival Tyson to the finish line
Wrapping up a 12-year process, Perdue is the first major poultry producer to put the kibosh on the routine use of antibiotics on its livestock.
All antibiotics have been removed from its hatcheries and human antibiotics have been removed from its feed, according to a company press release.
The company now uses vaccines, probiotics and redesigned chicken coops to maintain a healthy flock and promote growth.
What is permissible going forward is for Perdue farmers to use antibiotics when an animal is sick. However, the meat must be sold as a lower-grade commodity product rather than under any of Perdue’s brands in such a case.
Perdue’s competitor Tyson says it should have antibiotics out of its flocks less than a year from now by the end of September 2017.
Chipotle removing GMOs from the supply chain
The food supply is going through a lot of changes now and you as a consumer are driving it. Last year, Chipotle announced it had gone 100% GMO free in all the food it serves. They were the first major restaurant chain to do so.
While Europeans are generally more tolerant of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), Americans have been up in arms about them. There’s been a real debate among scientists about if we should worry about GMOs or not. Some folks argue GMOS offer a safe food option to feed a growing world population. But U.S. consumers have generally decided that GMOs are bad.
A lot of organic sellers have had a difficult time trying to make sure items in their supply chain are GMO free. They have to constantly be on top of sourcing. So Chipotle is hoping their no-GMO stance will be a distinguisher in the crowded quick serve marketplace.