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Monrovia, CA – Consumers Union and USPIRG deliver thousands of new petition signatures from consumers to Trader Joe’s corporate headquarters in Monrovia calling on the grocer to be an industry leader and end its sale of meat and poultry raised on antibiotics.
Three quarters of a million consumers have already urged Trader Joe’s to help address a major public health crisis by selling only meat raised from animals without the routine use of antibiotics.
“We need to stop wasting these critical medications on healthy livestock in order to preserve their effectiveness for treating disease,” said Meg Bohne, campaign director for Consumers Union. “Trader Joe’s can make a big difference by no longer selling meat from animals that have been routinely fed antibiotics.”
Some 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used not on humans but on animals. These antibiotics are fed mostly to healthy animals like chickens, cows, and pigs to make them grow faster and to prevent disease in often crowded and unsanitary conditions on today’s industrial farms. While public health campaigns have helped to curb the use of antibiotics in humans, antibiotic use in livestock is still increasing.
Most public health experts agree that the overuse of antibiotics on healthy livestock threatens public health by promoting the spread of drug resistant superbugs. A report released last fall by the Centers for Disease Control warns that antibiotic resistance has become so serious that it is undermining our ability to treat infectious diseases.
Trader Joe’s is the focus of the campaign because eighty percent of its products are private label, which means it has more control over its suppliers and can use that leverage to increase supply and keep prices competitive. Most of Trader Joe’s chicken is raised without antibiotics, although much of its beef, pork and turkey are conventionally raised (“where antibiotics are likely used,” according to the company website).
“We’re calling on Trader Joe’s to help end a meat production practice that is clearly threatening public health,” said Garo Manjikian, Legislative Advocate for CALPIRG. “If Trader Joe’s insists that all its meat and poultry is raised without antibiotics, it will encourage other grocers to do the same.”
The effort to get Trader Joe’s to stop selling meat raised on antibiotics comes at a time when other food companies are taking this stand. In February, Chick-fil-A announced that, within five years, it will no longer sell chicken that has been raised on antibiotics. Other national chains like Whole Foods, Chipotle, and Panera Bread have already made this commitment.
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