Perdue Foodservice has launched seven no-antibiotics-ever chicken products for school lunch programs, including favorites such as a nugget, sandwich patty, chicken rings and chicken popcorn. Perdue Foodservice has also committed to converting additional school lunch products, sold under the Kings Delight, Clux Delux and Perdue labels, to no-antibiotics-ever meat over the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year.
The products meet the School Food FOCUS – The Pew Charitable Trust Standard to Minimize the Use of Antibiotics in Poultry, as well as the standards of the Urban School Food Alliance. Together, these purchasing initiatives include many of the largest school districts in the U.S., serving more than 4 million students.
“We’ve been providing consumers with the option for no-antibiotics-ever products since Perdue launched the Harvestland brand in 2007,” said Jennifer Armstrong, director of sales, K-12 for Perdue Foodservice. “As a leader in no-antibiotics-ever production, it made sense for us to bring the same choice to school lunch programs. These include the kinds of chicken products most popular with students, and we’re now making them from chicken raised with absolutely no antibiotics ever.”
“We were the first chicken company to give consumers the added assurance of USDA Process Verified Programs,” said Armstrong. “Now, school lunch programs carrying our no-antibiotics-ever USDA Process Verified products can offer these important attributes to their students, while at the same time reassuring parents that their kids are eating responsibly-raised chicken.”
The Urban School Food Alliance requirements also include USDA Process Verified Programs to verify the no-antibiotics-ever claim, along with raised on an all-vegetarian-diet with no animal by-products. “We were the first chicken company to give consumers the added assurance of USDA Process Verified Programs,” said Armstrong. “Now, school lunch programs carrying our no-antibiotics-ever, USDA Process Verified products can offer important attributes to their students, and reassurance to their parents.”
For those school districts that are not using no-antibiotics-ever chicken, Perdue follows a minimal use policy for its other products that excludes the use of antibiotics for growth promotion or the continuous of antibiotics used in human medicine.
Perdue Foods, the parent of Perdue Foodservice, received widespread praise from groups concerned about the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture for its September 2014 announcement that is has reduced overall use of human antibiotics by 95 percent over a 12-year-period and does not use antibiotics for growth promotion or in its hatcheries. “We recognized that the public was concerned about the potential impact of the use of these drugs on their ability to effectively treat humans,” said Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, Senior Vice president of Food Safety, Quality and Live Operations for Perdue Foods.
As part of Perdue’s animal welfare commitment, should animals become ill – including those raised as no-antibiotics-ever or organic – they will be treated as medically appropriate. However, if antibiotics are used, those animals are not marketed as no-antibiotics-ever or organic.