WICHITA, Kan. – Farmers that supply Cargill with turkeys have removed growth-promoting antibiotics from production of turkey meat used in the company's Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms turkey brands, Cargill announced.

Antibiotics will still be administered by a veterinarian to treat and prevent disease, the company noted.

“Consumer research tells us people are more interested than ever in where their food comes from and how it is produced,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, president of the Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats business. “We believe ending the use of antibiotics to promote growth in turkeys is an important step that provides consumers with nutritious and affordable options. Working with our broad network of independent farmers, Cargill has the experience, resources and capabilities to successfully make this change and meet the needs of our customers and consumers.”

Cargill, working with the US Department of Agriculture, developed a three-part verification process:

• All turkeys are raised by independent farmers
• Producers are trained on proper animal handling practices
• No antibiotics are used for growth promotion (antibiotics only used for treatment of illness and disease prevention)

“Fresh, whole turkeys raised without growth-promoting antibiotics will be available this Thanksgiving under Cargill’s signature brand labels, Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms,” Kimmelshue said. “All Cargill turkey flocks will be free of growth-promoting antibiotics by the end of 2015.”