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Perdue Foods says its chicken hatcheries are now antibiotic-free

The nation's third largest poultry producer says it's no longer using human antibiotics in about 95 percent of its chickens. It's a move that many are applauding.
Thursday, September 04, 2014
The nation's third largest poultry producer says it's no longer using human antibiotics in about 95 percent of its chickens. It's a move that many are applauding.

Perdue foods says they listened to consumers and say they recognize the concerns about the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture, but not everyone believes their stance and here locally, some say it doesn't change a thing.

We found Diane Powell in the aisle at Kristina's Natural Ranch Market in Northeast Fresno. She says she spends extra time and money on foods without additives.

Powell told ABC30, "I am very susceptible to rashes and allergic reactions from all kinds of things so fresh is better. We all need to be concerned about what we put in our bodies."

Owner Jim Belcher says organics are the future. He's been selling and promoting natural foods for nearly 40 years. When we asked him about Perdue's move away from antibiotics he said, "I don't buy it."

He says it's just a marketing concept and that the hormones -- and antibiotics will be present in other places like feed. Belcher says the public is uneducated about what we put in our bodies and he truly stands behind the products on his shelves. He showed us the products, saying there's "no artificial antibiotics ever, no preservatives, raised without added hormones."

Doctor Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor for ABC News says that is the way to go. "This is a big step Perdue is taking. I would love to see the other big poultry producers following suit and saying we're going to get on board too."

Perdue says it's halted the use of human antibiotics with about 95 percent of its chickens and says it's not using them in its hatcheries either. Jim Belcher tells us the real difference between natural and antibiotic raised chickens is in the way it cooks. Belcher says "The taste, you cannot believe the taste."

Perdue certainly hopes that difference will drive more customers towards their product. In a press release, Perdue foods says it does not add human antibiotics to chicken feed and says antibiotics will only be given when prescribed by a veterinarian.



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