The Chicken Farmers of Canada, a national group dedicated to supporting poultry farmers and helping them meet consumer demand for chicken, has announced their strategy for eliminating the use of certain antimicrobials in meat production. The group has already helped the 2,800 chicken farmers in Canada cease the use of Category I antibiotics to prevent infectious disease in their livestock.
The goal is to eliminate the use of Category II antimicrobials, which are also currently used as a preventive measure, by the end of 2018. The group has also set another goal for the year 2020 to eliminate the use of Category III antibiotics.
Concerns over the rise in antibiotic-resistant pathogens has pushed governments and trade organizations to encourage farmers to eliminate antibiotic use in their livestock wherever possible. However, the Chicken Farmers of Canada will not eliminate the use of all antibiotics; the group will still allow farmers to use antimicrobials that are not used in humans, including ionophores.
“Chicken Farmers of Canada has been a leader in antimicrobial stewardship, and this strategy provides continued confidence to consumers, customers, and to governments,” said Benoît Fontaine, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada. “This strategy provides a sustainable means of meeting consumer expectations, while maintaining the ability for farmers to protect the health and wellbeing of their birds.”
According to the Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian chicken has been shown to be free of antibiotic residues for the last several decades. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) monitors the use of antibiotics in the poultry industry, including withdrawal times, to ensure the antimicrobial residues do not end up in the food supply.