Why Trader Joe’s? Why now?
By Consumers Union on Friday, January 18th, 2013
Consumers Union has taken a stand against the overuse of antibiotics in livestock production for decades – about 40 years, in fact. In that time however, we’ve seen little action by regulatory agencies or lawmakers to curb this practice that is increasingly contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance.
In light of that, Consumers Union decided to turn our attention to the marketplace to see if consumer pressure on grocery stores could start guiding the meat industry in a new direction. If consumers demand meat raised without antibiotics, and grocery stores demand it from their suppliers, the tide can begin to turn on this common feedlot practice of dosing animals with antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick in cramped living conditions and to make them grow faster.
Consumers Union researched the largest grocery store chains in the US to find out what kind of meats they’re selling that are raised without antibiotics, and we released our findings last year. We used this information to help us determine which grocery store chains might be the most likely (and most capable) of only sourcing meat from suppliers that don’t routinely give their animals antibiotics.
Trader Joe’s rose to the forefront for many reasons. First of all, the majority of the products they sell are under the Trader Joe’s brand name, meaning the company has a direct relationship with its suppliers and can make these kinds of demands. In fact, Trader Joe’s has already done so on many occasions… they already require that their Trader Joe’s branded products contain no artificial colors, preservatives or GMOs, and they require their eggs to come from cage-free chickens. Furthermore, Trader Joe’s already offers a decent selection of meat raised without antibiotics so they have an opportunity to expand their sourcing from those no-antibiotics suppliers.
Finally, this is a move supported by Trader Joe’s customers. In fact, many TJ’s fans we’ve heard from already thought this was a company standard, as evidenced by comments on the petition last fall that generated over a half million signatures to the company. Said Sherry from Concord, CA, “Trader Joe’s is usually so meticulous about the source of its products. I’m surprised that they allow products from animals raised on on antibiotics. ” And as Josh from Spokane, WA put it: “Don’t they already do this?”
But right now there’s only one store that does: Trader Joe’s key competitor, Whole Foods. The company has had a strict policy against selling meat raised with antibiotics in place for years – so we know it can be done!
Join us! Take action now: tell Trader Joe’s to be the next industry leader and say goodbye to meat raised on antibiotics.