Low antimicrobial usage in Danish poultry farms

Danish poultry farmer Ulla Merrild inspecting her young broilers. Picture credit: The Danish Agriculture and Food Council

The Danish poultry sector uses 0.002 grams of antimicrobials per kg of finished broiler. More than two thirds (72%) of Danish broiler farms used no antibiotics at all in 2010.

Denmark produces 184,000 tonnes of poultrymeat a year, a third of which is sold on the home market. Here, it makes up 55% of the country’s total poultry consumption, the balance coming primarily from elsewhere in the EU.

Since imports are monitored by the Danish authorities in the same way as domestically-raised poultrymeat, differences can be established. “The level of antibiotic resistant bacteria in Danish poultrymeat is lower than in imported products,” says Henrik Bunkenborg, chief consultant at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.

The Danes export poultrymeat to Sweden (40,000 tonnes) and the UK (14,000 tonnes), most of which is pre-packed chicken breast. Important third country markets include Russia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

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Peter Crosskey is based in the UK.