St. Louis-based Pickleman's Gourmet Cafe has announced a 'No Antibiotics Ever' policy for the chicken it serves in its 24 locations across the Midwest.
'After 16 years in the industry, I wanted to fix what was broken,' Doug Stritzel, founder and CEO, said in a company press release. 'So many hidden ingredients are hazardous to your health, from preservatives, to fillers, to antibiotics.'
The language around the use of antibiotics can be confusing to the public and can be misleading — just as the food designations 'natural' and 'organic' have been fought over in the past. Many chains claim their chicken is 'raised without antibiotics,' which is a much lower level of care and protection than No Antibiotics Ever, according to Hayley Sohn, Pickleman's head of nutritional research and development.
'Shell to Table with no antibiotics, means the chickens are raised in better conditions, with more space, higher quality food, and less stress ensuring they don't get sick,' Sohn said in the release. 'Not only do they live a better life and avoid contributing to antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs,' they become more nutrient-dense as food, and just taste better.'
Chickens labeled as Raised Without Antibiotics actually do get antibiotics both from their mother, and large doses while they are still in shell. In contrast, 'No Antibiotics Ever' is a USDA- enforced program subject to audit, ensuring the chicken never comes in contact with antibiotics: they are not administered to the mother or while the chicken is still in the shell, and never throughout the bird's lifespan.
'This is just one way that Pickleman's is serving food from farms, not from factories,' Stritzel said in the release. 'We are adding to the list of products made fresh in-house every day and continuing to work with clean label sources, the way food was meant to be.'