Meatpacking Giant Pushes Into Organic Chicken Production

Jacob Bunge reported last week at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. is planning a major push into organic chicken production, aiming to capture the segment’s fatter profits and rising sales following a tough patch for poultry firms.

“The move would make the Greeley, Colo.-based meatpacking giant one of the largest producers of organic chicken in the U.S. at a time when growth in conventional chicken is being outpaced by poultry raised without antibiotics and fed organic grain, executives said.”

The Journal article explained that, “The shift reflects how shifting consumer tastes, emphasizing sustainability and production methods regarded as more natural, are forcing change at major food companies that have built their business on large-scale, low-cost production.

“Pilgrim’s, the second-largest U.S. chicken processor in terms of birds processed, last year unveiled plans to eliminate antibiotics from a quarter of its chicken production by 2019, responding to concerns that widespread use of the drugs in animal production could hasten the spread of dangerous bacteria that antibiotics can’t kill.

“Major competitors like Perdue Farms Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc. are pursuing similar efforts, as restaurant chains like McDonald’s Corp. and Subway pledge to curb antibiotics use in their meat supplies.”

For additional information on organic livestock and poultry practices, see this update from last month- Proposed Rule for Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices.

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