Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has begun serving local chicken raised without antibiotics to students in 473 schools. This development comes on the heels of a fresh chicken purchase direct from the USDA earlier this fall.
The district's new scratch-cooked chicken program includes about 1.2 million pounds from Amish farms that do not use antibiotics, for a total of about two million pounds of fresh chicken in the 2011-12 school year. Students will be offered bone-in chicken two to three times each month.
The district's volume purchase of chicken grown without antibiotics, made through food service provider Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality, is the first of its kind, it says, noting that no other district in the nation is serving this kind of poultry regularly at such a scale.
The decision to buy the chicken was done with research and consulting support from School Food FOCUS (Food Options for Children in the United States) Learning Lab and the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming (HHIF). Negotiations with the producer, Miller Amish Country Poultry of Orland, Indiana, were facilitated with help from Whole Foods.