Thanksgiving Guide: Finding Antibiotic-Free Turkeys


Nov. 20, 2020 — As Americans look for their Thanksgiving turkeys, a public wellness campaigning for team has actually provided a purchasing overview that ranks brand names based upon their antibiotic usage plans.

Of the 15 brand names reviewed, 8 obtained the thumbs-up, 4 a care light, as well as 3 brand names a traffic signal, based upon info regarding antibiotic usage in the turkeys discovered on the business’ internet sites.

Industry authorities disagreed with the record’s searchings for.

The information regarding antibiotic usage in turkey manufacturing, generally, is motivating, states Sydney Riess, a public wellness projects connect for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a federation of state teams that promote versus dangers to public wellness as well as security. Its record, “Talking Turkey,” was launched today.

But, Riess states, “We also know there is a long way to go.”

Under FDA guidelines, clinically crucial medications that combat bacteria, specified as those required to deal with human condition, cannot be made use of in turkeys as well as various other feed pets to advertise development however can be made use of to stop condition, she states. Some public wellness specialists state the plan needs to be more stringent, enabling the prescription antibiotics to be made use of just to deal with unwell pets identified by a certified veterinarian or, in many cases, to regulate a confirmed condition break out. Overuse of prescription antibiotics brings about antibiotic resistance, an arising worldwide wellness problem.

What the Report Found

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or U.S. PIRG, reviewed 15 prominent turkey brand names, researching each brand name’s web site to discover its plan on antibiotic usage. Using that information, it split the business right into environment-friendly, yellow, or red classifications, from a lot of perfect to the very least.

Green-light business have openly offered info on their internet sites stating they restrict using all prescription antibiotics or the regular use clinically crucial prescription antibiotics for all entire turkeys offered.

Of the 15 brand names researched, 8 were categorized in the environment-friendly group:

  • Fossil Farms
  • Koch’s
  • Murray’s
  • Nature’s Rancher
  • Norbest
  • Organic Prairie
  • Perdue
  • Plainville Farms

According to info on their internet sites, business in the yellow group might use lines of entire turkeys increased without prescription antibiotics, or without regular use clinically crucial prescription antibiotics. But the plan does not always relate to every one of the entire turkeys offered by that brand name, based upon web site info, U.S. PIRG states.

Four business remain in this yellow group:

  • Butterball
  • Foster Farms
  • Jennie-O
  • Northern Pride

Companies at a loss group have actually no or restricted info regarding antibiotic usage in entire turkeys on their web site; the information there recommends they remain to make use of clinically crucial prescription antibiotics regularly to stop condition in wellness pets, U.S. PIRG states.

Red group business consist of:

  • Honeysuckle White
  • Shady Brook Farms
  • Signature Farms

Industry Response

Beth Breeding, an agent for the National Turkey Federation, a market team, assessed the record as well as reacted. “National Turkey Federation members are committed to the judicious use of antibiotics in turkey production, and the industry has prioritized decreasing the need for the use of antibiotics used to treat people while maintaining our commitment to animal welfare,” she states.

Breeding states the record ”has countless noninclusions as well as mistakes.” Among them, numerous business pointed out were not gotten in touch with, she states.

The record is deceptive as well as incorrect, states Daniel Sullivan, an agent for Cargill, which offers Honeysuckle White as well as Shady Brook Farms turkeys. “The mistake is that they are making these claims based solely on what is or is not published on a product website, not any actual data,” he states. His firm does not make use of prescription antibiotics in its turkeys in a preventative style (on healthy and balanced pets) as well as hasn’t considering that 2016, he states. “Nearly 50 percent of the birds sold under the Honeysuckle White brand and Shady Brook Farms brand are antibiotic-free, meaning they were never used. The Honest Turkey brand [also a Cargill brand] is 100 percent antibiotic free. No mention of that anywhere in the report.”

More on FDA Regulations, Public Health Concerns

The FDA upgraded its guidelines regarding clinically crucial antibiotic usage in food-producing pets in 2017, stating these medications might be made use of just in the feed or alcohol consumption water of food-producing pets with vet oversight as well as can not be made use of to enhance development.

According to the CDC, yearly in the U.S., at the very least 2.8 million individuals obtain an antibiotic-resistant infection, as well as greater than 35,000 die.

According to U.S. PIRG, in 2017, turkey manufacturing made use of virtually 18 times extra clinically crucial prescription antibiotics than hen per extra pound of meat created.

Expert Perspective

“The record reveals that there has actually been development amongst the leading fresh turkey manufacturers in lowering overuse [of antibiotics],” states Steven Roach, food security program supervisor for Food Animal Concerns Trust, a not-for-profit promoting for pet well-being, that assessed the record.

“Perdue [a major producer] no longer allows routine antibiotic use, and some other major producers are marketing some turkey raised in reduced antibiotic use programs,” he states.

“The report provides a helpful tool for consumers who are looking for a turkey and want to reward companies doing the right thing on antibiotics. One challenge for consumers and consumer advocates is the lack of transparency by companies in how they are actually using antibiotics on their farms.”

Consumers can additionally try to find certain expressions on the turkey tag, such as “No antibiotics administered,” “Raised without antibiotics,” or “No antibiotics ever,” according to U.S. PIRG.

WebMD Health News


Sydney Riess, public wellness projects connect, U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group: “Talking Turkey: A Consumer Guide to Buying Turkey Raised Without Overusing Antibiotics.”

Steven Roach, food security program supervisor, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Chicago.

Beth Breeding, speaker, National Turkey Federation, Washington, D.C.

Daniel Sullivan, speaker, Cargill, Minneapolis.

CDC: “Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance (AR/AMR).”

FDA: “Antimicrobial Resistance.”


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