Salisbury, MD – Perdue announced on Feb. 26 plans to move its “No Antibiotics Ever” line of poultry products into mainstream grocery areas and foodservice menu items with the rapid transition of its entire frozen, refrigerated chicken and turkey products.
Perdue officials announced the plan during the 2016 Annual Meat Conference in Nashville earlier this week.
The transition will make Perdue the first major brand to convert all of its chicken products to antibiotic-free status, providing consumers with choices in every category – fresh, refrigerated and frozen. This conversion also includes branded heat-and-eat and pre-seasoned chicken items, such as retail nuggets, strips and grilled strips.
These new products plan to be on the shelves with the continued conversion through May. The conversion also includes all foodservice turkey items. This means more than 150 of Perdue’s No Antibiotics Ever menu items are now available to independent operators through foodservice distributors across the country.
“In the retail sector, we’re converting all branded refrigerated and frozen convenience products to No Antibiotics Ever, bringing the total number of products with the claim to more than 200,” said Eric Christianson senior vice president of marketing and innovation. “In just a few months, we will take NAE mainstream, moving it beyond select fresh items and niche brands and making Perdue No Antibiotic Ever chicken products available everywhere consumers shop for chicken in the grocery store.”
The announcement follows the company’s continued vision in minimizing antibiotic use: two-thirds of the company’s chickens are now raised without any antibiotics of any kind, up from 50 percent six months ago. The company also raises more than 50 percent of its turkeys in its No Antibiotics Ever program.
Chairman Jim Perdue says, “That claim is transparent and absolutely clear to consumers: no antibiotics of any kind, at any time. Consumers have a number of concerns around antibiotic use, and they deserve products that address all those concerns with a promise they can trust.”
Perdue is raising the new line of chickens at nine of its processing complexes.
“We don’t know of any other company successfully raising that many chickens without any antibiotics at all,” said Bruce Stewart-Brown, Perdue’s senior vice president of food safety, quality and live production. “We started our journey away from antibiotics 12 years ago, and know it takes time to do it right. It’s not just taking antibiotics out; it’s learning how to raise healthy birds and prevent disease without antibiotics.”