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Hormones, Steroids & Antibiotics in Chickens

Hormones & Steroids

Australia has one of the most efficient chicken meat producing and processing industries in the world, but there are still many misconceptions about what has led to a bigger and plumper chicken than 20 years ago. No hormones or steroids are fed or otherwise administered to poultry in Australia. Lenard’s is only supplied chicken from Australian based companies, selling 100% Australian poultry.

By regulation, no hormones or steroids are administered to chickens under any circumstance. Contrary to urban legend, the administration of hormones to chickens both in Australia and around the world has been illegal for over 40 years. The government’s National Residue Survey regularly tests meat to confirm that hormones are not used. Advertising that claims ‘no added hormones’ is not differentiating its product, but instead stating an industry-wide regulation.

Antibiotics

Chicken meat produced in Australia is healthy and nutritious, and eating it does not expose consumers to either antibiotic residues, or bacteria resistant to antibiotics used in human medicine. This is because, firstly, antibiotics are used in a way that ensures the meat is free of residues. Withholding periods, designed to ensure there is no residue left in the meat at the time of processing, are observed at all times.

Secondly, antibiotics are used in a prudent way to minimise the development of resistance. It should also be noted that any bacteria which may be on raw meat, whether resistant to antibiotics or not, are killed through normal cooking. The Australian Chicken Meat Federation endorses the use of antibiotics in chickens in two important ways. 1. Therapeutic agents – used to treat bacterial infection. 2. Preventative agents – used to prevent disease occurring in healthy animals.

Antibiotic use generally occurs only after other management strategies have been unsuccessful. The birds are inspected by vets before and after antibiotic administration and a withholding period is enforced prior to processing those chickens administered with antibiotics. Only antibiotics assessed and approved for use in the livestock industries by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the National Registration Authority are used.

Chicken Meat Federations Consumer Information Line

The Chicken Meat Federation’s Consumer Information Line – Chook Infoline – was established in 2006 to help answer consumer questions about chicken meat and the chicken meat industry in Australia. The Chook Infoline aims to address some of the myths and misconceptions about how chickens are raised in Australia – with answers provided in a convenient and contemporary way.

This is in line with the industry’s aim to be completely open about its practices, as it engages in world ‘best practice’ for the raising, growing and processing of chickens. 1300 4 CHOOKs (1300 424 665) is available from 9am – 5pm EST and is answered by specially trained operators. Callers may also be provided with industry policies on important issues like antibiotics or GM feed. They may also be directed to the industry website for more information on www.chicken.org.au

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