Updated:WASHINGTON, D.C. —
Perdue has removed all antibiotics from its chicken hatcheries. The company said it stopped using drugs to promote growth in animals in 2007.
Now the only time animal-only antibiotics will be used is to treat sick chickens.
Perdue becomes one of the first chicken companies bowing to pressure to eliminate antibiotics in hatcheries.
Food safety groups hope others follow, concerned over-use of those drugs in meat leads to antibiotic resistance in humans, causing a surge in super viruses.
The Centers for Disease Control estimated last year more than 23,000 people died from drug-resistant infections.
The move by Perdue will cost consumers more, but the founder won't say how much.
In December, the Food and Drug Administration came out with guidelines to remove antibiotics in animals, but they're all voluntary.
Perdue said its actions go further than any federal regulation or proposal, showing the industry can evolve on its own.
Perdue said it reduced antibiotic use after consumer concerns.
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