Absolutely No Routine Antibiotics
Farms can struggle when it comes to marketing the fact that they don't use antibiotics in meat production. There's a few blurred boundaries here which can depend on the type of antibiotics, why they're being used, and the frequency of their use. You might have come across slogans and catchy phrases such as "Antibiotic Free" or "Raised Without Antibiotics", and these can be quite misleading. Technically all of the meat you buy is antibiotic free as it's illegal to sell meat which contains any trace of antibiotics. This does not mean that the chicken you're buying has never come into contact with antibiotics - but rather that it has passed a withdrawal period long enough to ensure that no trace of antibiotics remain in their systems. This allows companies to put an "Antibiotic Free" sticker on their products as if it were to be taken to a lab and analysed you'd most likely find no trace.
The ConcernThere are a high number of people who are allergic to certain medications and should not have to worry about this when buying meat. This is where the importance of logos and accreditation's can come into play. Taking Springfield for example, we adhere to the standards set by the Organic Farmers and Growers for all of our birds. Having their logo on our organic chickens gives confidence to our customers that we're consistently following the best guidelines for rearing poultry which of course includes no routine use of antibiotics. The main concern for many is not the use of antibiotics, but rather the misuse of them.
Why are antibiotics used in farming at all?There is a vast difference between safe antibiotic use and the gross misuse of them. Antibiotic use on animals can be used sparingly to treat potentially devastating illnesses such as coccidiosis - a parasitic disease which can attack the digestive systems of the birds. When faced with an illness such a this, there are a couple of different ways to deal with it:
- Allow the animals to suffer fatal consequences.
- Treat the illness after diagnosis with small amounts of medication.
- Raise the animals on routine antibiotics to prevent them contracting the illness.