May 26, 2024

Groups Call on Foster Farms to Demonstrate Antibiotic Stewardship

More than 30 environmental, animal welfare, health, food safety, and consumer organizations have sent a letter to Foster Farms, asking that corporation to adopt stewardship practices for raising healthier chicken. That company has been linked to two large Salmonella outbreaks in the last year that have sickened thousands of people across the country.

Antibiotic PillsThe current outbreak, which has sickened at least 416 people in 23 states with seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg, many of them antibiotic-resistant, has hospitalized 40% of those sickened. The Natural Resources Defense Council says that “the spread of drug resistant bacteria throughout our communities and kitchens has threatened our health and contributed to the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance.

More than 80% of all antibiotics produced in this country are used on factory farm animals. Unfortunately, two of those uses, to increase growth and to prevent disease in unsanitary feedlots, contribute to antibiotic resistance. The low dose lets some bacteria survive. Those bacteria become resistant to the antibiotic and thrive. The CDC has stated that “up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe.”

The letter asks Foster Farms to publish a detailed description of the antibiotics they use to raise chickens; commit to using antibiotics responsibly, and to verify progress through audits conducted by an impartial third party. Telling the American public how the birds are raised and the steps Foster Farms is taking to address this issue may help the company regain its credibility.

The letter is signed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Keep Antibiotics Working, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Consumers Union, Food Animals Concerns Trust, the Humane Society of the United States, and Center for Food Safety, among others.


  1. I don’t think that the company can regain credibility. When I call my customers, that is all that everyone is talking about. Who would ever buy again a product from Foster Farms? It would require a name change. Since they did not take seriously their massive salmonella problem, I don’t think that they are concerned with the effects of their antibiotics abuse on their customers. It is ridiculous that a corporation cannot show responsibility. Without a good reputation, what do you have?

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