USDA called to tighten use of antibiotics in meat

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Consumer protection, Want, Livestock

USDA called to tighten use of antibiotics in meat
USDA called to tighten use of antibiotics in meat
A consumer report has called on the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to tighten consumer labelling standards for meat raised without antibiotics.

According to a new national poll, carried out by Consumer Reports, the majority of Americans want meat raised without antibiotics to be sold in their local supermarkets.

Consumer Union (CU), the public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has launched a new marketplace campaign to urge supermarkets to sell only meat raised without antibiotics. As a result of the campaign, 86% of consumers polled for antibiotic-free meat in supermarkets.

Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumer Union, said: “Antibiotics are losing their potency in people, leading to a major national health crisis, we need to drastically reduce their use in food animals.”

The campaign has started with the one of the leading national chains, Trader Joe’s, which is said to be best poised to make the commitment. Halloran said: “We are calling on Trader Joe’s to be a leader and make this change now.”

CU has also sent a letter to the USDA asking it to tighten labelling standards for meat raised without antibiotics.

The results of the poll also showed that 60% of respondents said they would pay at least 5 cents per pound more for meat raised without antibiotics and more than a third (37%) would pay $1 more per pound of meat raised without antibiotics.

One of the major things worrying 72% of the respondents was the overuse of antibiotics in animal feeds, which they said resulted in animals being kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, while creating superbugs that are immune to antibiotics.

Dr Urcashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability at Consumer Reports, said: “Consumers who want to buy meat raised without antibiotics need a system they can rely on to feel secure that the labels on those products are meaningful and accurate.

“Consumers would benefit from one standard, meaningful, USDA-verified label that is consistent on all meat and poultry products from animals raised without antibiotics.”

Related topics: Meat

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