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Cargill eliminates 20% of shared-class antibiotics used for beef cattle

Staff writer |
Cargill is eliminating 20 percent of shared-class antibiotics, those deemed important for human medicine and farm animals.

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Cargill is eliminating antibiotics from its four feed yards in Texas, Kansas and Colorado, and four additional feed yards operated by Friona Industries, which is a strategic business partner that supplies the company with cattle.

The total number of cattle involved annually is approximately 1.2 million. This move comes after Cargill evaluated both existing third party research and research previously conducted by the company regarding reduced antibiotic use, and evaluated customer and consumer input.

For the beef cattle covered by this announcement, Cargill does not use any antibiotics for growth promotion that are medically important for human health.

Implementation of this decision builds upon Cargill’s 2014 decision to eliminate growth promoting antibiotics from its U.S. turkey business, which was completed in time for the 2015 holiday turkey season.

Cargill will also increase to 90 percent the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified feed yards that supply it cattle by 2018, becoming the first major beef processor to establish such a target.

BQA is a stewardship certification program created by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and includes training for cattle producers in best practices. Additionally, the company is working with the Canadian beef industry to create a similar program.

“Our decision to eliminate 20 percent of the antibiotics used in our beef cattle, which are also used for human health, took into consideration customer and consumer desires to help ensure the long-term medical effectiveness of antibiotics for both people and animals,” stated John Keating, president of Cargill’s Wichita-based beef business.

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