SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods Inc. is introducing a new line of antibiotic-free fresh products under its Pure Farms brand. The line, available in retail stores and foodservice, will include fresh pork cuts, ham cuts and packaged pork cuts including breakfast sausage and bacon. The Pure Farms line meets USDA standards for minimal processing and contains no antibiotics or artificial ingredients.
“The Pure Farms brand is ideal for families looking to enjoy the highest quality, antibiotic-free pork,” said Ken Sullivan, president and CEO for Smithfield Foods. “We’re proud to provide our customers and consumers with a broader range of products to meet a variety of needs and preferences, including antibiotic-free.”
“This new line from Pure Farms reflects Smithfield's continued commitment to meeting the needs of all consumers with good food that is made the right way,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield Foods. “This commitment led to the creation of this new line and other bold steps we continue to take to ensure our products exceed our customers' and consumers' expectations.”
According to Smithfield, it’s the only company in the industry to report antibiotics usage since 2007. As a part of its 2015 Sustainability & Financial report, the company explained when and when it uses antibiotics with its animals:
- To control disease. Smithfield administers antibiotics to its animals for a limited period of time to reduce the chance of spreading a specific disease following exposure.
- To treat disease. Smithfield administers antibiotics to treat sick animals.
- To prevent disease. Smithfield administers antibiotics to healthy animals when they may be exposed to a particular disease that exists on its premises or is likely to occur.
- To promote growth. While Smithfield does not use medically important antibiotics to promote growth, the company does use animal-only antibiotics for growth promotion and feed efficiency.
The report further refined its definition of ‘prevention’ as it relate to antibiotics use in farm animals. According to the report, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines disease ‘prevention’ as the ‘administration of an antimicrobial drug to animals, none of which are exhibiting clinical signs of disease, in a situation where disease is likely to occur if the drug is not administered.’ The FDA regards ‘prevention’ as a therapeutic and judicious application of antibiotics.
“In defining prevention Smithfield adheres to the FDA definition of prevention. Our aim is to reduce disease carriers in our herd and to prevent our animals from contracting a disease, which would then require additional treatment and potentially more use of antibiotics. Prevention is not a ‘catch-all’ term disguising sub-therapeutic uses of medically important antibiotics for production purposes.