The trademarked logo depicts a smiling pig’s head with the words ‘antibiotic free’ above.
A Karro Food Group spokesperson would not comment specifically on the company’s newly registered logo but said: “Karro requires all of our British pig
farmers to adhere to our strict requirements, which include all pigs being Red Tractor Assured or Freedom Food Approved. These requirements include the production of detailed medicine use records upon request, quarterly reviews of veterinary health plans, and that the total annual antibiotic use on each farm is recorded.
“In addition to the strict guidelines outlined, Karro has also developed a consistent supply of antibiotic free pork through our supply chain, all the way from farm to fork.
“Karro is proud to boast an antibiotic free herd from which we supply pork to markets where there is significant demand. As a forward looking company, we are always considering ways to increase awareness of our high quality products.”
According to Mintel data, nearly half (47%) of British people are either extremely or moderately concerned about antibiotics in farming.
They have reason to be – the Soil Association estimates that almost 45% of antibiotics use in the UK is in farming, and this has increased from 384 tonnes in 2008 to 420 tonnes in 2013.
Meanwhile in June last year, British supermarkets were forced to remove pork products from their shelves after the meat was found to be infected with the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA.
Industry is reacting to concerns over the widespread use of antibiotics in farming and animal rearing in Europe and abroad. Last week German hard
discounter Aldi launched its Never Any! range of meat products that are free from antibiotics and growth-enhancing drugs in the US, although it is not known if it plans to extend the launch to Europe.
Antibiotic-free logos are ‘risky’
But not everyone agrees that logos are the answer.
Emma Rose from the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, told FoodNavigator last year that a logo system was risky, warning it could give the signal that meat from animals where antibiotics are routinely used is an acceptable alternative, and would continue to be sold.
“Introducing labels risks allowing the continuation of such practices, whilst turning meat products from animals raised without antibiotics into premium products - rather than the absolute norm,” she said.
The Alliance to Save our Antibiotics calls for a ban of routine, preventative antibiotic use across the board.