Costco working to end use of human antibiotics in chicken

Costco working to end use of human antibiotics in chicken

Postby Oscar » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:03 pm

Costco working to end use of human antibiotics in chicken

[ http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/ ... 2L20150306 ]

By Nathan Layne CHICAGO Thu Mar 5, 2015 7:37pm EST

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QUOTE: "The risk is that so-called superbugs might develop cross-resistance to medically important antibiotics."

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(Reuters) - Costco Wholesale Corp is working toward eliminating the sale of chicken and meat from other animals raised with antibiotics that are vital to fighting human infections, senior executives at the third-largest U.S. retailer told Reuters on Thursday.

The ongoing push by Costco, which sells 80 million rotisserie chickens a year, highlights growing pressure on the supply chain in the wake of this week's announcement by fast-food giant McDonald's Corp that it would stop buying chicken raised with so-called "shared-use" antibiotics within two years.

"We are working towards, and working with our suppliers and the regulatory agencies... to see how we can get rid of shared-use antibiotics in animals," Craig Wilson, vice president of food safety at the Issaquah, Washington-based retail giant, said in a phone interview.

"I think all of us want to move to a point where we can get the human-use antibiotics out of the system. It's going to take time."

Wilson and Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said the company did not have a target date for reaching that goal, a reflection of supply constraints.

Veterinary use of antibiotics is legal. However, as the rate of human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria increases, consumer advocates and public health experts have become more critical of the practice of routinely feeding antibiotics to chickens, cattle and pigs.

Scientists and public health experts say whenever an antibiotic is administered, it kills weaker bacteria and can enable the strongest to survive and multiply. Frequent use of low-dose antibiotics, a practice used by some meat producers, can amplify that effect. The risk is that so-called superbugs might develop cross-resistance to medically important antibiotics.

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[ http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/ ... 2L20150306 ]
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