says to cut antibiotic use in cattle by 20 percent
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[March 09, 2016]
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Cargill Inc [CARG.UL],
a top U.S. meat processor, is trimming the use of antibiotics in its
cattle supply amid concerns among some doctors and consumers about risks
to humans from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The company on Feb. 26 started eliminating 20 percent of antibiotics
deemed important for human medicine and farm animals from its four
feed yards in Texas, Kansas and Colorado, according to the company.
It is making the same reductions at four feed yards operated by
Friona Industries, which supplies Cargill with cattle.
The changes affect about 1.2 million cattle annually, which
represents about 18 percent of the cattle Cargill processes,
according to the company.
Cargill considered "customer and consumer desires to help ensure the
long-term medical effectiveness of antibiotics for both people and
animals,” said John Keating, president of Cargill’s beef business.
Public health advocates, along with some lawmakers and scientists,
have criticized the long-standing practice of using antibiotics in
livestock. They argue that it is fueling the rise of
Some agribusinesses have defended the practice as necessary to help
keep cattle, pigs and chickens healthy and to increase production of
meat for U.S. consumers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2013 released voluntary
guidelines for drug makers and agricultural companies to phase out
antibiotic use as a growth enhancer in livestock. The agency said
antibiotics could still be used to treat illnesses in animals raised
for meat, but should otherwise be pared back by December 2016 under
a program to keep them out of the human food supply.
In its four feed lots, Cargill does not use antibiotics for growth
promotion that are considered to be medically important for human
health, a spokesman said.
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The changes come as Cargill has pared back parts of its businesses
amid a rout in commodities markets.
Last year, the privately held trader streamlined its executive team
to speed up decision-making and launched a restructuring that
included job cuts. The company in the past year also sold its U.S.
pork business and said it will close its London shipping office.
Last month, Cargill said it will stop selling fertilizer, seeds and
crop chemicals to farmers in Central and Eastern Europe.
(Reporting by Tom Polansek and Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by
Cynthia Osterman and Dan Grebler)
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