New “Raised Without Antibiotics” certification introduced
NSF International in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States, has introduced an independent Raised Without Antibiotics protocol for meat, poultry, seafood, and other animal products.
“The certification provides independent verification of on-package claims and is the only ‘raised without antibiotics’ certification that covers all animal products,” Nova Sayers, senior manager of Global Food at NSF International, told SeafoodSource. The Raised Without Antibiotics certification can be granted to meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs, leather, and certain supplement ingredients, she added.
While NSF is discussing the new protocol with “a number of companies in various industries,” according to Sayer, S-Pure brand chicken from Betagro Group in Thailand is the currently the only product certified to the antibiotic-free certification to date. Betagro is a large supplier of chicken to Asia and Europe.
“A growing number of consumers are concerned about the widespread development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the use of antibiotics in food production,” said Sarah Krol, global managing director of food safety product certification for NSF. The new certification “gives consumers an easy way to identify and purchase animal products that have been raised without exposure to antibiotics, which may help alleviate their concerns,” she added.
Fifty-nine percent of consumers prefer products from animals raised without antibiotics, according to a 2016 survey conducted for NSF International. “But, without an independent, transparent protocol and certification process, consumers have not been able to verify claims made by marketers – until now,” NSF said in a statement.
The Raised Without Antibiotics protocol says that animals cannot be certified if they have received antibiotics. However, the use of ionophore chemical coccidiostats, which are not considered contributors to antimicrobial resistance, may be permitted to prevent infections, depending on labeling regulations in each region, NSF said.
The program encourages preventive measures such as vaccination, alternative treatments, litter management techniques and appropriate stocking density to maintain the health and welfare of the animals.
“If sick animals require antibiotics for treatment, they can receive veterinary care, but must be removed from the Raised Without Antibiotics program,” NSF said.