TurkeysConsumers Union activists have been making Congress sit up and listen about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics on healthy livestock.

Incredibly, eighty percent of all antibiotics are given not to sick people but are sold for use in animals, mostly to make them grow faster and tolerate crowded and unsanitary factory farms.  That reckless practice is promoting the spread of drug resistant superbugs and can make antibiotics less effective for people with infections.

We asked you to email your Congress members about the overuse of antibiotics in meat and poultry production and you sent nearly 240,000 messages to your Senators and Representatives asking them to stop this practice.

The policy makers couldn’t help but notice that Consumer Reports’ “Talking Turkey” test report got massive media coverage, including the CBS Early Show, National Public Radio, and the Los Angeles Times.

But the big agricultural interests are still very powerful in Congress and are working hard to prevent any action at all to limit antibiotics use.  Grocery stores, however, can help move their meat suppliers in the right direction on this issue.   Over this past year, we’ve been urging Trader Joe’s to do what Whole Foods has done and take a stand for public health–to stop selling meat and poultry raised with antibiotics.

Many of you saw our ads in the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle asking Trader Joe’s to change, or met one of our leafletters in front of a store, or learned about our campaign on Facebook or Twitter and responded to our request to call Trader Joe’s.  In fact, in the last few weeks, thousands of you have called Trader Joe’s and told them that its time they helped end this harmful practice of giving antibiotics to healthy food animals.

Was Trader Joe’s pleased?  Not exactly–they sent the police to chase away some of the leafletters.  Meanwhile some of their employees had a hard time believing that the store wasn’t already selling just “no antibiotics” meat.  The retailer finally posted a statement on its website trying to explain its policy.  But explanations aren’t going to save antibiotics for all the important diseases we need them for.  Trader Joe’s should lead the way on reducing antibiotics in meat production.

People don’t take antibiotics every day — neither should healthy animals.  Give Trader Joe’s a call today to urge them to stop selling meat and poultry from animals raised on antibiotics.