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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Chicken sales fall on antibiotics scare

Grocery stores and poultry producers in Norway confirmed over the weekend that chicken sales have fallen after news that some antibiotic-resistant bacteria had been discovered in Norwegian-produced chickens.

It’s the same bacteria that’s been found among poultry producers abroad and both Nortura and Norsk Kylling, Norway’s two largest producers, are taking measures to stop its spread. The measures include vaccinations and halting the use of a chicken feed additive that can contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Chicken sales have increased steadily in Norway since commercial production expanded in the early 1990s, and the downturn now confirmed is the first ever. Producers and Agriculture Minister Sylvi Listhaug insist Norwegian chicken is safe. They urge diligent kitchen hygiene but otherwise don’t believe eating chicken implies health risks in Norway. Ulf R Dahle of Norway’s public health institute also thinks the risks have been overdramatized.

Listhaug has urged larger flocks among chicken producers in Norway, to improve economies of scale, but has met resistance from opposition parties in Parliament who contend that larger flocks can increase risks. Listhaug doesn’t see any connection between the size of flocks and antibiotic risks, noting that flocks in Sweden are three times the average size in Norway with no need for more antibiotic use.



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