Poultry processors have promised to follow 2 Sisters’ lead by removing all antibiotics deemed critical to human health from their supply chains.

2 Sisters announced last week it would stop using all antibiotics defined by the World Health Organization as ‘Critically Important Antimicrobials (CIAs) for Human Health’.

The company has not used third and fourth-generation cephalosporins or fluoroquinolones for two years - in line with the rest of the poultry industry - but said it would now also ban macrolides from its broiler production.

It is also establishing two trial farms supervised by veterinary surgeons in a bid to develop farm practices that reduce the need for antibiotic interventions.

2 Sisters agriculture director Michelle Waterman said the group would continue to assess its antibiotics use, and aimed to “move at a pace with the latest advice from health experts”.

Responding to the announcement, Moy Park said it was also “committed to the removal of macrolides”.

And Faccenda MD Andy Dawkins said his company was “working towards the removal of all antibiotics considered critical to human health.”

The declarations were welcomed by campaigners, who have long claimed antibiotics use in animal agriculture is contributing to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in humans.

Emma Rose of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics said it was a “big step forward” for a major food company to make a public commitment to remove CIAs.

However, she added the Alliance would like to see the industry reduce antibiotics use in poultry production more generally. “We need to look at how we can make improvements to the systems so they don’t need to be propped up by extensive antibiotic use,” she said.