June 27, 2017
Sanderson Farms denies presence of antibiotics in products
Sanderson Farms, Inc. denies an allegation that the company's products contain residues of human and animal antibiotics, other pharmaceuticals, hormones, steroids, and pesticides.
The allegation, stated by a complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, was made by three non-profit corporations. They seek, among other things, an order enjoining the company from continuing its "100% Natural" marketing programme.
"unequivocally" stated it does not administer substances listed in the complaint to its flocks, with one exception.
"To suggest otherwise is false and irresponsible. Company veterinarians do, on rare occasions, prescribe penicillin to treat sick poultry flocks when, in their professional judgement, they consider it necessary for animal welfare," the company said.
These medicines are given in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance, including a withdrawal period between the time the medicine is administered and when the flock is harvested.
"Most of the other drugs and chemicals cited in the complaint are not approved for use in chickens, and some would be lethal to chickens," Sanderson added.
Furthermore, the company argued that it has never been cited by the USDA or other regulatory bodies for violation of residue laws, rules or regulations.
Sanderson Farms intends to "vigorously" fight the lawsuit.
The company also plans to continue its marketing and advertising campaign to educate consumers on its position regarding the judicious use of FDA-approved medicines to treat sick chickens and to prevent disease in chicken flocks.
"Such use is consistent with Sanderson Farms' animal welfare obligations to the animals under its care, its environmental sustainability efforts, and the company's obligations regarding food safety," the company said.