Egg Label Antibiotic-free or No Antibiotics

Egg Label antibiotic freeDoes the No Antibiotics or Antiobiotic Free Egg Label Mean Anything?

To me, no antibiotic or antibiotic-free should mean that an antibiotic is not administered to the chicken at any time in its life. After all the chicken does create the egg.  Read the following and decide if this label is valid for your egg carton.

When you buy organic eggs there are no antibiotic used ever.

The following information is from the USDA for approval labeling on egg cartons

“Antibiotic Claims:

  • Acceptable Claims: No Added Antibiotics, No Antibiotics Administered, or words of similar meaning, with further clarification located on the in-lid.
  • Unacceptable Claim: Antibiotic Free, No Antibiotics.
  • No antibiotics may be administered in the laying hen’s diet (feed or water) or through injections.
  • Suggestion: “No Antibiotics Administered*” – with further details listed on the in-lid In-Lid: “No Antibiotics were administered to the laying hen’s diet (feed or water), nor were any antibiotic injections administered to the hen during the egg laying process.”
  • The producer/packer/distributor must provide documentation validating such claims.”

The following statement about antibiotic free egg labels comes from the US Poultry Organization:

“What does antibiotic free mean?
Antibiotic-free claims on egg cartons can be only be made by egg producers who choose not to use any antibiotics in feed or water during the growing period of pullets or while hens are laying eggs. Flocks producing certified organic eggs must be antibiotic free by regulation. Flocks producing conventional eggs may use FDA approved antibiotics and must comply with FDA levels of use and other restrictions. FDA regulations assure that antibiotic residues do not occur in the egg itself. Eggs from hens treated with antibiotics cannot be classified as antibiotic-free, but the eggs themselves do not contain antibiotic residues. The list of antibiotics allowed by FDA for use in egg laying flocks is quite small, only three. Also, it is estimated that only a small percentage of laying flocks producing conventional eggs ever receive antibiotics due to use of effective vaccines and other management practices which minimize the need for antibiotics to treat illness. If any egg laying flock does receive an antibiotic, it is usually under the supervision of a veterinarian and only for a short period of time to treat a specific disease outbreak or for prevention of a recurring disease on that farm.”

Egg labels:

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