Alternative approaches to antimicrobial use in the turkey industry: Challenges and perspectives

Authors: Ashley A. Gernat, Fernanda B. O. Santos and Jesse L. Grimes

Ger. J. Vet. Res 2021. vol. 1, Iss. 3 pp:37-47


Poultry production has experienced a major shift with the prohibition of the use of antimicrobials and antibiotics as growth promoters. The industry in general, and more specifically turkey producers, are facing a changing world in that many consumers have a perception and certain beliefs about food production while the truth maybe something else. Additionally, perception has become a reality when it comes to consumer acceptance, which affects consumer purchasing behavior.  In this regard, in many cases and genres, the public perception of antibiotic use in turkey production can be generally negative. The truth that antibiotics and other antimicrobials can be beneficial to both turkeys and consumers is lost. Therefore, turkey producers are accepting the challenge to rear turkey flocks without growth promoting antibiotics or antimicrobials. In some cases and some locales, this has become the law. In other markets, consumer desires and purchasing habits are the driving force for change. Turkey producers are scrutinizing production practices to ascertain and provide the optimal environment for turkey production. In addition, alternatives to antibiotics are being developed, tested, evaluated, and used for turkey production in increasing frequency. These include, but not limited to, probiotics (direct-fed microbials), prebiotics, organic acids, essential oils, spices, and plant and yeast extracts. Researchers are joining forces with turkey producers to develop use plans for these feed additives that, in most cases, are not the same as for antibiotic administration. Turkey producers have become proactive in developing these plans and are preparing to provide exceptional quality products that will meet consumer acceptance. However, more research focusing specifically on turkeys is certainly needed so that these alternative approaches can be optimized to meet the turkey production necessities.


Turkey production, Antibiotic, Alternative, Consumer acceptance


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