Cargill’s Shady Brook Farms brand is the first line of turkey products to earn the Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use (CRAU) designation, which complies with the School Food Focus program’s K-12 meal eligibility requirements across the United States, the company announced.
Attaining the CRAU designation for the Shady Brook Farms brand is the culmination of a multiyear effort by Cargill to create a supply chain capable of providing turkey protein that meets the certification’s stringent requirements, while also offering these products at a competitive price.
“It was a true collaboration between School Food Focus, the USDA and Shady Brook Farms,” said Dr. Scott Eilert, head of food safety, quality and regulatory for Cargill’s turkey brands.
Cargill made the first large-scale U.S. turkey industry commitment to eliminate the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in July 2014, with full implementation in January 2015, to address increasing public awareness about potential antibiotic-resistant bacteria from overuse of antibiotics in human and animal health applications.
While the company believes judicious use of antibiotics is important to ensure animal health and a safe food supply, it also supports a reduction in the use of shared-class antibiotics (used in both human and animal health). In 2016, Cargill announced the elimination of gentamicin in its turkey business, a shared-class antibiotic routinely used for decades. The announcement coincided with an expansion of the firm’s turkey offerings from birds never given antibiotics, represented by the creation of the Honest Turkey brand in early 2017.
In addition to reducing antibiotic use in its turkey supply, Cargill worked with the USDA to create a Process Verified Program (PVP) for its Shady Brook Farms brand that incorporates elements of food safety, animal wellbeing and the care and handling of turkeys by the 700 independent family farmers who raise them. The CRAU certification for Shady Brook Farms turkey products will be incorporated into the brand’s existing PVP initiative.