Hey, Trader Joe's: Stop selling meat raised on drugs!

Consumer Reports News: September 27, 2012 11:08 AM

That's the message being delivered today by Consumers Union, our policy and advocacy arm, in a petition containing nearly 560,000 signatures to Trader Joe's in Union Square in New York City. The petition urges the food store to sell only meat and poultry raised without antibiotics to help prevent the creation of superbugs, which are dangerous bacteria immune to one or more antibiotics. And, there's a special guest to help deliver the message: "Joe the Pig" will be on hand to ask Trader Joe's to help get him off drugs (he's wearing a pink pig costume with a Hawaiian shirt).

Kimberly Howland, a former hog factory farm worker, will also be at the Trader Joe's event. She passed a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) superbug on to her family. Howland's husband became seriously ill and had to undergo emergency surgery to remove the flesh-eating MRSA infection from his leg.

"We experienced first hand how frightening it can be when an antibiotic-resistant superbug spreads from the farm into the community," says Howland.

Our recent report on antibiotics in meat found that Trader Joe's offered a good selection of chicken, beef, and turkey products without antibiotics, but it didn't carry any pork products. Eighty percent of its products are private label, which means it has direct control over its suppliers.

"Trader Joe's has shown its commitment to its customers by taking a stand against genetically modified organisms, artificial colors and trans fats in the products it sells," says Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumer Reports. "We are calling on Trader Joe's to help move the livestock industry away from the overuse of antibiotics by selling only meat without drugs."

Today's event urges Trader Joe's to help end a meat production practice that is a serious danger to our health. For more information, go to MeatWithoutDrugs.org.

Nicole Sarrubbo

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