In response to hundreds of calls Trader Joe’s headquarters has been getting from customers asking them to stop selling meat raised on antibiotics, the company has issued a statement on their website.
“We don’t presume to make choices for [customers],” it says, and points to some options shoppers have in their stores of organic and ‘no antibotics’ meat.
But, they say, they also sell conventional meat, “where antibiotics are likely used.”
Lots of grocery stores – in fact most, by our own surveys – give customers options of meat raised without antibiotics. What we’re asking, along with over half a million TJ’s shoppers, is for the company to take a stand for public health and refuse to sell these products.
There’s a big difference.
The overuse of antibiotics is rampant in conventional meat production. The drugs make animals grow faster and allow them to tolerate cramped, unsanitary living conditions common on factory farms. But that’s not how
antibiotics are meant to be used. Just as in humans, antibiotics should only be given when an animal is sick. The widespread use of these drugs on industrial farms creates antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ that are harder to treat. These superbugs migrate off the farms through the air, soil and water, and as a Consumer Reports study just found, in the very meat we eat.
While providing customers with a choice is a positive step, it’s simply not good enough given the public health crisis we’re facing as antibiotics lose their power. As long as Trader Joe’s continues to carry meat from healthy animals that are routinely fed antibiotics, the company is contributing to the development and spread of antibiotic resistance.
Trader Joe’s customers are looking for the company to be an industry leader and say ‘no more’ to selling meat from animals on antibiotics. And despite the company’s claim of wanting to give shoppers ‘choices’ in their stores, people are pretty used to Trader Joe’s making smart decisions about their product offerings – just look at their policies around no GMOs and sustainable seafood and cage-free egg requirements.
TJ’s shoppers trust the company to offer healthful, high-quality products that they feel good about buying and feeding to their families. That’s why asking the company to stop selling meat on drugs has resonated with so many of their customers and compelled them to pick up the phone.
Have you made a call yet? Give TJ’s headquarters a quick buzz at (626) 599-3700. and tell them that your ‘choice’ is to save antibiotics for when they’re really needed and to stop selling meat from animals raised on the drugs.