Food News: Costco To Drop Meats With Antibiotics

Food News: Costco To Drop Meats With Antibiotics

It's not surprising that the big players in any industry -- food included -- watch and follow one another.  Last month both Nestlé and Hershey announced that they would be moving away from artificial flavors and ingredients in their candies.  Then McDonald's announced it would no longer use meats with antibiotics.  And now Costco, one of our most influential retailers, is continuing the trend.

Costco, which sells about 80 million rotisserie chickens a year, announced it would move away from selling poultry and other meat and deli products with antibiotics.  Last year fresh food accounted for 13 percent of Costco's $110 billion in net sales.  The company did not give a timetable for the practice.  McDonald's set a goal of two years.

Why does this matter? Antibiotic resistant bacteria, which develops in concentrated animal feeding operations, is reported to cost the U.S. health care system $20 billion a year, plus it increases the risk of highly dangerous super bacteria for which there are no effective treatments.

“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,” Craig Wilson, the retailer’s vice-president of food safety, told Reuters.

It seems that social and consumer trends just might be having more influence than the voluntary regulations promoted by the U.S. government.  As for the rest of the food industry, this is a wonderful bandwagon to jump on.

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