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Chick-fil-A praised for “No-Antibiotics” chicken pledge

Tuesday, February 11, 2013

Consumers Union Praises Chick-fil-A For Pledging To Sell Only “No-Antibiotics” Chicken

Consumer Group Is Urging Trader Joe’s And Other Grocers To Stop Selling Meat And Poultry Raised On Antibiotics

YONKERS, NY – Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, praised Chick-fil-A today for its announcement that within five years it will no longer sell chicken that has been raised on antibiotics.  Public health experts have warned  that the overuse of antibiotics by the meat industry on healthy livestock is making these medications less effective for treating disease.

Consumers Union’s has been working to get grocery stores – starting with Trader Joe’s – to make a commitment to stop selling meat and poultry from animals that have been routinely fed antibiotics.  Over 650,000 consumers have signed petitions, postcards, and flyers in support of the campaign.  Consumers Union is spreading the word about this effort in full page ads in newspapers in Denver and Boulder, where Trader Joe’s will be opening its first stores later this week.

“Chick-Fil-A deserves credit for taking this important step to protect public health,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union.  “We need to stop wasting these critical medications on healthy livestock.  Grocery stores like Trader Joe’s can make a big difference by no longer selling meat from animals that have been routinely fed antibiotics.”

The consumer group is opposed to the routine feeding of antibiotics to healthy livestock and has supported legislation to prohibit antibiotic use except when animals are sick.  The consumer group has urged Congress and the FDA to take action to curtail the overuse of antibiotics in meat production, but meaningful efforts have been stymied for decades by the pharmaceutical and livestock industries.

Some 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used not on humans but on animals.  These antibiotics are fed mostly to healthy animals like cows, pigs, and chickens to make them grow faster and to prevent disease in often crowded and unsanitary conditions on today’s industrial farms.  While public health campaigns have helped to curb the use of antibiotics in humans, antibiotic use in livestock is still increasing.

Chick-fil-A’s announcement comes at a time when other food companies have moved in this direction.  Both Chipotle and Panera Bread have made commitments to serve meat raised without antibiotics.  Whole Foods is the only national grocery chain that sells only meat from animals raised without antibiotics.

Contact:  Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org or 415-902-9537 (cell) or 415-431-67476, ext 126