The ever-increasing demand for chicken has prompted some farmers to pump their birds full of hormones and antibiotics. While some brands make a point to remove unnatural ingredients from their chicken, there are other brands, like Sanderson Farms, that seem to embrace that their poultry is "raised with antibiotics." While there is still much debate over preferred methods for raising poultry, Sanderson Farms may be in hot water for more than their quirky advertisements.
In a new lawsuit, the Organic Consumers Association, Friends of the Earth, and the Center for Food Safety allege that Sanderson Farms' chickens are testing positive for not only the drug Ketamine but also "amoxicillin, penicillin, growth hormones, prednisone and other steroids, pesticides," reports Delish.
Yes, you read that right. Ketamine, the anesthetic that leaves users in a trance-like state and can cause memory loss, is being found in chickens coming from the third-largest producer in the U.S. According to Vice, Sanderson Farms' chicken products are used in nationwide chains like Dairy Queen, Chili's, and Olive Garden. Yikes!
"Sanderson's '100% Natural' marketing and advertising scheme falsely and misleadingly suggests that consumers are ingesting nothing but chicken, and certainly no synthetic drugs or other chemicals," the suit reads.
The lawsuit references several food tests conducted in 2015 and 2016 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service that discovered "residues that are not 100 percent natural." In 33 percent of the samples, antibiotics, steroids, pesticides, and hormones were found in chicken. The fact that Ketamine was found in nine samples across facilities in five different states indicates the vast number of people who might have been affected.
Addressing these reports, Sanderson Farms' chief operating officer Lampkin Butts had this to say to the New York Times: "Our judicious use of antibiotics is to keep chickens healthy and prevent disease, not for growth promotion."
That still doesn't answer the question of how Ketamine ended up in chickens across the country...