School District Interests and Challenges Buying Chicken Raised without Antibiotics

September 18, 2013 - Kathryn Colasanti, Laura Stanley, <>, Kathy Lawrence


The overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture is recognized as contributing to human antibiotic resistance. With large meat purchases, particularly chicken, school districts have an opportunity to leverage their buying power to engage with this issue. However, few school food service professionals have done so and little is known about their awareness, attitudes, or experiences. This research surveyed 36 school districts affiliated with School Food FOCUS, which works on procurement reform with many of the largest school districts in the country. Questions were designed to solicit familiarity with the issue of antibiotic use in poultry production, attitudes, and extent of relevant action taken. Motivations and barriers for purchasing poultry raised with minimal, safe and sustainable use of antibiotics as well as fresh (raw) poultry, which has been found to be an affordable way to menu antibiotic-free chicken, were assessed. Results revealed that this issue is important to respondents but difficult to address due to more immediate concerns. Barriers are experienced with purchasing both chicken raised without antibiotics and preparing fresh chicken. Product cost was perceived as a particularly high barrier. Responding to concerns of parents and the community was a top motivation.


School Meals; School Lunch; Antibiotics; Public Health Initiatives


Colasanti, Kathryn, Laura Stanley, Michael Hamm and Kathy Lawrence. 2013. School District Interests and Challenges Buying Chicken Raised without Antibiotics. Food and Nutrition Sciences, (4) 36-42.



Corresponding author

Kathryn Colasanti 


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