The Executive Director of Alberta Chicken Producers says maintaining consumer trust has been the driving force behind the chicken sector's efforts to reduce antibiotic use.
In response to the desire of retail and food service customers and processors to meet consumer demand Chicken Farmers of Canada has made reducing antibiotic use a priority.
"How other commodities are dealing with antibiotics" was discussed as part of a Swine Innovation Porc seminar earlier this month in Banff.
Karen Kirkwood, the Executive Director of Alberta Chicken Producers, says it's all about building consumer trust.
Clip-Karen Kirkwood-Alberta Chicken Producers:
Alberta Chicken Producers conducted a consumer study in 2006 through Intentions Consulting and we re-ran that study in 2018 to get a sense for what were the baseline perceptions of our consumers in 2016 and have those perceptions shifted over the last couple of years.
What was revealed in that 2016 survey was that, of our consumer base here in Alberta, which was a statistically significant sample size, 51 percent of consumers felt that "Antibiotic Free" as a product claim was important to them and in 2018 that number increased to 54 percent.
When it came to perceptions of chicken production, in 2016 33 percent of consumers believed that chicken contained antibiotics and 2018 35 percent of consumers believed that to be the case when in fact there is no residue in chicken meat but there is that perception out there and it's a growing perception and that is certainly having a significant impact on our industry and how we educate our consumer.
Kirkwood says it was also revealed that the consumer does not delineate between antibiotic use and hormone use and, in fact, hormones and steroids have been banned in chicken production for over 50 years.Source : farmscape