RANDERS, Denmark – Danish Crown for several years has sold pork products sourced from animals not given antibiotics to customers outside Denmark. But domestic demand for antibiotic-free (ABF) pork has the company changing course.

The company announced that, with help from Denmark’s largest retailer, Salling Group, the pork processor will now make ABF pork available on its domestic market. Conventional pork sold in Netto stores’ standard range will be supplied from pigs produced without the use of any antibiotics.

“As a food company, we can influence the development of tomorrow’s foods. In 2015 we launched a project which involved rearing pigs without the use of antibiotics, and today, more than 40 Danish farmers supply ABF pigs to Danish Crown,” said Jais Valeur, group CEO of Danish Crown. “A natural next step is to make ABF pork available to Danish consumers. I’m therefore delighted that Salling Group and Netto are now giving Danes the opportunity to buy ABF meat and contribute to the continued development of this production method.”

Per Bank, group CEO of Salling Group, said the company is making the investment in ABF pork despite the higher procurement price compared with conventional pork.

“As Denmark’s largest retail group, we can make a positive contribution to public health,” Per Bank said. “This is why we’ve decided to sell the new type of meat at the same price as ordinary conventional pork, even though it is more expensive for us to buy. We see it as an investment in public health. Together with Danish Crown and via our chains, we can help to drive the shift towards reducing antibiotics use.”

In Denmark, conventional and organic pork that has no antibiotic residues are available to consumers. The announcement by Danish Crown means the use of antibiotics will be avoided throughout the entire life of the pig.

Valeur said ABF pork production is about is about prevention rather than a cure for swine illness.

“ABF production requires much more supervision of the individual pigs, and producers are, among other things, extra focused on cleaning the pig buildings to keep their herds healthy and reduce the spread of infection among the pigs,” he explained.