Costco, the second-largest retailer in the U.S., has announced that it will be cutting out antibiotics from their chicken and other meats. This announcement comes just days after McDonald’s announced it will stop using antibiotic-ridden meat:
“I mean, you’ve got to protect human health beyond everything, and so we think eliminating shared-use antibiotics is the right way to go,” said Craig Wilson, Costco’s vice-president of food safety.
While Costco is only one supermarket, and McDonald’s is only one fast-food chain, it is hoped that their large influence on the market will set the standards for the livestock industry.
Experts believe that the overuse of antibiotics is leading to a new generation of resistant super-bugs, most of which are not treatable by conventional pharmaceuticals. The implications are taken very seriously by the UK government, which has begun to educate the public and its doctors and nurses against prescribing antibiotics too freely.
Concerns are now being raised about the levels of antibiotics used by meat and poultry farms. Conditions for animals on large-scale farms are dismal. Many animals are kept in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and antibiotics are used to prevent the animals from getting sick.
Image courtesy of the Cornucopia Institute
It’s estimated that over 80% of the antibiotics produced in the U.S. are used in meat and poultry farms. While there have been quite a few organizations that have been trying to limit the routine use of antibiotics, including the American Public Health Association, Infectious Disease Society of America, and the World Health Organization, the meat and poultry industry refuses to budge.
It is unknown how long it will take Costco to make the change as it did not provide a time frame, however it claims to be working directly with both suppliers and “regulatory agencies” to make the shift from antibiotics.
Dillan, Jim. Health Ambition. Mar 27, 2013. (http://www.healthambition.com/antibiotics-in-food/)
Froelich, Amanda. True Activist. Mar 7, 2015. (http://www.trueactivist.com/costco-announced-it-will-phase-out-antibiotic-treated-meat/)