LATimesAd_smallWe know Bay Area folks have a lot of love for Trader Joe’s – after all, the city of San Francisco alone contains five Trader Joe’s stores within its mere 49 square miles.

But what a lot of TJ’s shoppers don’t realize about one of their favorite grocery store chains is that much of the meat sold at TJ’s is from animals raised using antibiotics.

On industrial farms, antibiotics are often fed to otherwise healthy animals to make them grow faster and allow them to tolerate crowded and unsanitary conditions.    This inappropriate use leads bacteria to develop resistance to the drugs, creating ‘superbugs’ that spread to humans through our environment and the food we eat.

That’s why today we ran an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle to ask for your help letting Trader Joe’s know its customers want them to stop selling meat raised on antibiotics.

As with many grocery stores, Trader Joe’s does offer some ‘no antibiotics’ meat selections (including some organic options).  But this isn’t about choice, it’s about taking a stand for public health and refusing to sell meat from animals raised on these drugs.   It’s a standard, we’ve come to find out, that many TJ’s customers and even their own employees already think exists.

“The antibiotics we all depend on to fight off deadly infections are losing their power,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union in a press release.   “We shouldn’t waste these critical medications to make animals grow faster or to prevent disease.  Humans don’t take antibiotics to prevent disease and neither should healthy farm animals.”

Other companies are already moving away from antibiotic-raised meat.   Restaurant chains Chipotle and Panera both point to a no-antibiotics standard for the meat they source in their menu items.   And Bay Area drivers have likely seen Whole Foods’ giant billboards alongside the Bay Bridge with a reminder that “Friends Don’t let Friends Eat Meat With Drugs”, a reference to the fact that all the meat sold at Whole Foods is raised without antibiotics or hormones.

“Trader Joe’s has been an industry leader in offering affordable options for organic food and eggs from cage-free hens,” said Halloran.   “It should use its leverage with suppliers to help move the livestock industry towards healthy animals raised without drugs.”

You can help:  take a second to call Trader Joe’s now and ask the company to stop selling meat raised with antibiotics at 1-800-221-2063.