Betagro is world’s first firm certified for antibiotic-free meat

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With food safety and health issues becoming more important to consumers, meat and eggs produced by Betagro, one of the largest agriculture and food companies in Thailand, were certified last week as raised without antibiotics by NSF International, a Michigan-based testing, and inspection company that said Betagro was the first to receive its antibiotic-free certification.

“This is the world’s first production line that has been certified by the NSF for this category,” said Peter Bracher, managing director of NSF International Asia-Pacific. “This certificate will help customers make informed choices about the foods they eat.”

NSF said that its research shows that consumers worldwide are concerned about antibiotics residues in their food and prefer meats and other products that were produced without using them, as well as other chemicals. Betagro has been working for several years on producing eggs and meats raised without antibiotics, and the company’s entire production chain now meets IDC’s standards.

That’s good news for Betagro and also for Thailand’s agriculture and food production sectors, both of which are crucial components of the economy in terms of revenues, the jobs they provide, and the positive image they lend to the nation’s global reputation.

Those sectors are part of the 10 industries being supported under Thailand 4.0, the 20-year national development plan to inject research and development, innovation, and advanced and green technologies as drivers of the Thai economy.

Betagro’s success provides a good model for other Thai food producers to follow because antibiotic-free food could help them penetrate more deeply into markets where more consumers care about such issues.

“This is relevant to the five-year national strategic plan that seeks to lower the use of antibiotics in animal production by 30 percent when the plan ends in 2023,” said Somchuan Ratanamungklanon, deputy director-general of the Livestock Department at the Ministry of Agriculture.

Somchuan said the department has a policy to promote antibiotic-free livestock production to provide more choices for consumers to buy healthy and antibiotic-free meat products.

Vasit Taepaisitphongse, chief executive and president of Betagro Group, said the company has actually has been fully complying with antibiotic-free production practices for more than 10 years and welcomes NSF’s certification as further evidence for consumers so that they can have complete trust in the brand.