Panera Bread has recently advertised their use of antibiotic-free chicken. The commercials are cute but the claims are false and misleading.
On its website, the company claims that antibiotic-free chicken is simply better and even tastes better. While no farmer condones the overuse of antibiotics, animal owners know that sick animals are not happy or productive animals. Therefore, we as cattle owners believe in the responsible use of antibiotics to help our animals overcome illness.
We work diligently to maintain clean and healthy living conditions for our animals but illness cannot be completely prevented. Therefore, we use the resources we have available – including antibiotics – to treat sick cattle. When we do that we follow strict guidelines that mandate how long an animal must be removed from the herd to allow the antibiotic to completely exit its system. It is only after that has happened that the animal is allowed back into the herd and eligible for processing.
Animals are not slaughtered with antibiotics in their system, which means you never eat beef – or chicken – with antibiotics. So while Panera may have great bagels, it does not have superior chicken. All chicken is antibiotic because animal owners practice responsible antibiotic use.
Read more about what antibiotic-free labels actually mean at the CommonGround website: http://findourcommonground.com/2013/04/label-lessons-antibiotic-free/