LAUREL, Miss. – Poultry processor Sanderson Farms Inc. strongly denied claims made in a federal lawsuit filed against the company alleging synthetic drugs and other chemicals were administered to chickens.
In a lawsuit filed in the District Court for the Northern District of California, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Center for Food Safety (CFS) allege that Laurel, Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms’ marketing misleads consumers to believe the company’s chicken is “100% Natural” when the meat contains residues of chemicals and synthetic drugs.
The groups base their claims on tests conducted by the National Residue Program of the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
In a statement, Sanderson Farms said the company made “… a cursory review of the complaint…” filed on June 22.
“While Sanderson Farms generally does not comment on pending litigation, we can unequivocally state that Sanderson Farms does not administer the antibiotics, other chemicals and pesticides, or “other pharmaceuticals” listed in the complaint with one exception,” the company said. “To suggest otherwise is irresponsible. Our veterinarians do from time to time prescribe penicillin in FDA approved doses to treat sick flocks, and our withdrawal times far exceed FDA guidelines out of an abundance of caution. Most all of the drugs and chemicals cited in the complaint are not approved for use in broilers, and some would be lethal to chickens.”