Consumers Union continued to draw attention to Trader Joe’s sale of meat raised using antibiotics as part of its Meat Without Drugs Campaign.
The campaign which is seeking to convince grocers to sell only meat raised without antibiotics has also included outreach at Trade Joe’s stores in Los Angeles, Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland and Washington, D.C.
“The public health threat posed by the overuse of antibiotics for meat production is real and growing,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union. “Trader Joe’s could make a big difference for public health by working with its meat suppliers to transition away from the reckless overuse of antibiotics on healthy livestock.”
Concern over antibiotic resistant super bugs is so great that as The New York Times reported June 3, the FDA is urging speedy approval for new antibiotics to curtail drug resistant bugs. Which in turn is prompting even more criticism of regulatory oversight at the FDA.
As detailed in a press release issued in conjunction with the ad, Consumers Union has “been urging Congress and the FDA to work to curtail antibiotic use in meat production, but these efforts have been blocked by the pharmaceutical and livestock industry interests for decades. In the face of inaction in Washington, the Meat Without Drugs campaign is working to bring about change in the marketplace.”
Nearly 80 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are used on livestock for the non-therapeutic benefit of faster growing animals as well as in order to both prevent the outbreak of disease in what are often unsanitary and unhealthy high-yield factory farms. Non-therapeutic use of antibiotics on livestock has been banned in the European Union.
Despite years of concern from many inside the government, inaction remains. For more details on the stranglehold big agribusiness has on public policy in this area see former Texas Agriculture Commissioner and progressive activist Jim Hightower’s commentary from April 2010.
For a detailed and geeky look at both sides of the issue from another point of view, including efforts from pharma giant Bayer to influence the debate see this two part article in Cattle Today.