Welfare-led brand Spoiltpig is launching the first Raised Without Antibiotics bacon to the UK market in June.

The launch was born out of the brand’s concern regarding the global issue relating to antibiotic resistance and how farming impacts this.

Jim Loescher, Managing Director of Spoiltpig states, said: ”We believe in farming responsibly and always strive to do the right thing. That’s why we are launching the UK’s first Raised Without Antibiotics bacon and gammon range – easily identified by our blue Raised Without Antibiotics swing tag.”

Aled Rhys Davies of Pruex, a Hygiene optimisation consultancy (experts in the reduction of antibiotics in farming), says of spoiltpig’s move to 100% Raised Without Antibiotics “Antibiotic resistance - when bacteria change and antibiotics fail - is happening right now across the world and without urgent action we are heading for a post antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

“The problem is attributed to the over use of antibiotics in humans as the main cause to human bacterial infections; however the overuse of antibiotics in farming is also contributing to the issue. Within farming we know it is the pig industry that represents one of the biggest user of antibiotics, this is due to persistent routine usage to limit the effect of illness.”

The farming system used ensures the pigs are not mixed in ages which avoids illness, to the extent that 85-90% of all the pigs reared to this system do not need to be administered antibiotic treatments. Where pigs do require treatment, this is delivered direct to the individual animals - not the entire herd. The animal receiving treatment is tagged and processed as regular RSPCA approved, not Raised Without Antibiotics.

Under the system, the piglets are farrowed outdoors and brought indoors at weaning age. They are then kept at low stocking densities, on deep-straw bedding and with natural ventilation.

There is no tail docking or teeth clipping, practices which are still often practised routinely on a herd-wide basis on intensive pig farms.

The Alliance believes that it is important to avoid weaning piglets too early because later weaning helps piglets develop greater immunity against disease and therefore reduces the need for antibiotics.