Despite criticism from the farm community, the number of items on A&W’s menu that require specific animal care practices on farms is growing.
After moving to beef raised without the use of growth promotants and eggs from hens fed vegetarian diets without animal by-products, the fast food chain announced Monday that it has switched to only serving chicken produced with vegetarian diets and without the use of antibiotics.
“At A&W, we take food seriously and we’re proud to set high standards when it comes to ingredients,” said A&W’s Susan Senecal. “We began our ingredients guarantee in September 2013 with the very well received introduction of beef raised without the use of hormones or steroids. In September of this year, we introduced eggs from chickens fed only a vegetarian diet without animal byproducts and now we’re proud to be introducing chicken raised without the use of antibiotics.”
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A&W’s earlier decisions regarding beef and egg production drew criticism from farmers who felt the fast food company’s ads created undue concern about on-farm practices. They were disappointed the conditions required beef to be sourced from outside Canada, and some took offence to A&W using the term “better beef” to describe beef raised without the use of growth promotants.
Chicken producers have already taken steps to reduce the use of antibiotics in barns and hatcheries. As of May 15th, 2014, preventative use of Category 1 antibiotics (those considered to be the most important for human health) is not allowed for commercial meat chickens in Canada. This policy is being enforced through Chicken Farmers of Canada’s On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program and government surveillance programs.