We’re not sure if the folks at Trader Joe’s had ever seen a giant pig named Joe beg the company to get him off drugs, but as of this morning in NYC, things have changed. Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of our benevolent overlords at Consumer Reports, showed up with a team of other consumer and environmental advocacy groups to urge the grocery chain not to sell meat raised on antibiotics.
The group delivered 557,772 signatures to Trader Joe’s from consumers across the country who only want to see meat and poultry raised without antibiotics appear on the store’s shelves — hence, Meat Without Drugs.
Reusable shopping bags bearing the message “Hey, Trader Joe’s, Get Joe Off Drugs!” were handed out to shoppers and passersby to spread the word as well. Everyone loves a free tote, right?
“Over 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on farm animals, most of which aren’t even sick,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. “The rampant use of antibiotics on farms is promoting drug resistant superbugs that are showing up on our food and spreading to our communities. We are calling on Trader Joe’s to help end a meat production practice that is a serious danger to public health.”
The problem arises when too many food animals are given antibiotics, and become resistant with the overuse of such drugs. Even if they seem healthy, that’s not always the case, and can still pass on infection to humans who eat them.
Kim, a former Oklahoma hog factory farm worker spoke about how she unknowingly brought home the MRSA superbug — an antibiotic-resistant bug found in hogs and pork — to her family. Her husband became ill with what was at first thought to be a spider bite, until it grew to the size of a tennis ball. She said she believes Trader Joe’s can make a difference where the government and the industry has failed to do so, in reducing antibiotics in meat.
Monifa of MomsRising.org also added her voice to the campaign, saying she and 150,000 moms had signed the petition to urge Trader Joe’s to take action and help protect public health.
Since Trader Joe’s had refused to meet with Consumers Union, the collected signatures were then brought inside the store and presented on the spot.
For more about the campaign, visit www.MeatWithoutDrugs.org.