Gold’n Plump is going antibiotic-free.
GNP Company, a Minnesota chicken producer, announced on February 16 it is adding a “NO Antibiotics-Ever” claim and the American Humane Certified farm program seal to its products. The St. Cloud-based company aims to extend the attributes to its entire Gold’n Plump line by 2019.
The first products with the labeling will debut in March and be in stores in April. More products will be added during the summer. In a press release, the company said the move is significant because GNP is one of the first mainstream chicken brands to remove all antibiotics from its product line.
The “No Antibiotics-Ever” label is only granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture if the bird is never given antibiotics at any point during its life. The American Humane Certified seal is granted by the American Humane Association after a third-party, independent verification that care and handling of farm animals meets the standards of the non-profit association.
The majority of the company’s core Gold’n Plump products will carry both the “no antibiotics” claim and humane certified label by the summer, GNP Company stated. The remainder of its products will make the transition by the end of 2019.
The company said the move is being made in response to increased consumer demand for antibiotic-free products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), which will ban the use of growth promoting antibiotics the FDA deems medically important to humans, will go into effect in 2017. The forthcoming regulation is pushing the industry to make numerous changes. Several companies have pledged to expand their antibiotic-free offerings, or exceed the standards set by the VFD, in recent months.
In an interview, Julie Berling, GNP’s director of strategic communications and insights, said the company will exceed the standards set by the VFD. She said the new certifications will raise the cost of production slightly but she declined to say by how much. The company has sold a line of antibiotic-free chicken, Just BARE, since 2009. She said the experience with raising antibiotic-free poultry will be beneficial going forward.
Berling said GNP will still administer animal antibiotics under veterinary supervision for the treatment of disease because medical treatment is part of humane practices. Those birds who received treatment will be segregated from those used in the antibiotic-free product line.
GNP is part of The Maschhoffs LLC, an Illinois-based, family owned pork producer. The Maschhoffs acquired GNP Company in 2013. The company’s products are distributed mainly in the Midwest and are also sold around the country.