June 23rd, 2017
Three nonprofit groups filed suit against Laurel, Miss.-based Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) for falsely advertising products that contain a wide range of unnatural and in some cases prohibited substances, as “100% Natural.”
Substances include antibiotics, steroids, hormones and even a drug with hallucinogenic effects. The groups suing Sanderson are Organic Consumers Association (OCA), Friends of the Earth (FoE), and Center for Food Safety (CFS).
Sanderson Chicken claims its chicken is 100% Natural or “nothing but chicken.” But recent testing conducted by the National Residue Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) found 49 instances in which samples of Sanderson products tested positive for residues of synthetic drugs that are not “100% Natural.” Thirty-three percent of the 69 FSIS inspections, conducted in five states, uncovered residues that no reasonable consumer would consider “natural.”
Test results included:
• Eleven instances of antibiotics for human use, including chloramphenical, which is prohibited for use in food animals.
• Positive results for ketamine, a drug with hallucinogenic effects, using testing methods normally applied to beef and pork. Valid testing methods have not been developed for ketamine in poultry, because ketamine is not approved for use in poultry.
• Ketoprofren, an anti-inflammatory drug
• Prednisone, a steroid
• Traces of growth two hormones: melengesterol acetate and a beta agonist ractopamine. Both are banned in chicken production.
• Six instances of residues of amoxicillin, a medically important antibiotic for human use and one that is not approved for use in poultry. Deserves further investigation because, similar to ketamine, valid testing methods have been developed only for beef.
• Three instances of penicillin residue at up to 0.285 ppb, for which the residue regulatory limit is zero.
• Positive test results for the pesticides abamectin and Emamectin, using testing methods that apply to pork.