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Letter to Trader Joe's on Antibiotics

Mr. Dan Bane
CEO
Trader Joe’s
800 Shamrock Avenue
Monrovia, CA 91016

Dear Mr. Bane,

The Meat Without Drugs coalition and supporters would like to request a meeting with you regarding your meat and poultry suppliers to discuss the barriers and the opportunities to selling only meat raised without antibiotics in Trader Joe’s stores.   

The problem of antibiotic resistance is escalating. Annual data released in February by the FDA show increasing rates of resistance in bacteria found in tested meat samples. For example, 45% of Salmonella isolates in retail chicken samples now show resistance to multiple classes of antibiotics. And it’s not hard to see why: the meat industry is now purchasing a record-breaking 30 million pounds of antibiotics a year for use in food animals, around 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the US.

Consumers Union research shows that some of the meat and poultry sold at your stores comes from such large-scale producers as Perdue and Swift Pork. Industrial meat companies typically administer antibiotics to healthy animals to promote faster growth and to compensate for crowded and unsanitary conditions.    

Your customers trust Trader Joe’s to offer healthy, high-quality and safe products, and to be a leader in adopting sustainable practices that ensure the safety of public health and resources. In fact, we’ve come to understand that many of your customers, and even some of your own employees, think so highly of your products that they assume that you would never sell meat from animals raised using antibiotics. They’ve been disappointed to learn from our campaign that nearly all of your pork products and a significant portion of your beef and poultry are raised in this way.

As a major grocery store, your company has an opportunity to make an important contribution to public health by demanding a policy of “no antibiotics administered” for the meat you purchase. Not only will you be taking a proactive step toward preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics for sick people, you will be fulfilling your customers’ expectations to provide meat from animals raised in a way that protects public health and the environment.

We request a meeting with you to discuss this issue and prospects for your company moving forward with changes in its purchasing. We would appreciate it if you would contact Jean Halloran at Consumers Union, 914-378-2457, or jhalloran@consumer.org, at your earliest convenience to schedule a discussion.

Sincerely,

Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics

Center for Food Safety

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Consumers Union

FarmForward

Food & Water Watch

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT)

Humane Society of the United States

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

MomsRising

Natural Resources Defense Council

The Pew Charitable Trusts

Physicians for Social Responsibility

STOP Foodborne Illness

Last Updated July 29, 2013

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