18 November 1999
M&S bans chicken feed antibiotics

MARKS & Spencer claims is to become the first High Street retailer to remove antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs)from all its fresh chicken production.

The store says it has decided to remove AGPs due to customer concern about antibiotic resistance in humans.

This follows news that poultry producer Grampian Country Food Group, which accounts for nearly one-third of UK chicken output, was stopping feeding its birds AGPs.

M&S says health and welfare trials with its suppliers have shown that their birds are not adversely affected by the change in policy.

It claims that improved husbandry and a review of feed mean AGPs are no longer necessary.

Brian Jennings of the Responsible Use of Medicine Alliance (RUMA) said the M&S initiative was an important step towards reducing the reliance on antimicrobials in livestock production.

All M&S fresh chicken sold from January 2000 will have been reared without the use of AGPs.

An EU ban on four AGPs widely used in pig and poultry production came into force this year.