For the past year or so, there was only one holdout among the largest chicken producers in the U.S. on action to keep life-saving antibiotics working. Now there are none.

Sanderson Farms announced on Nov. 30 that it will stop the "preventive" use of medically important antibiotics in its chickens by March 1, 2019.

“This is a welcome change,” said Matt Wellington, our national network's antibiotics program director. “Although Sanderson Farms is late to the game on reducing antibiotic use compared to its competitors, this is good news for our health.”

Despite Sanderson's positive action, the company continues to question the link between overusing antibiotics in meat production and the risks to human health. Research shows that routine antibiotic use in livestock and poultry can breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can travel off farms via water runoff, airborne dust, the meat itself, or farm workers. According to the latest estimate, more than 150,000 Americans died from drug-resistant infections in 2010.

Read our news release here.

Photo Credit: chayakorn lotongkum via Shutterstock