San Francisco recently passed an ordinance that may affect the way livestock is raised in the US.
The city is requiring major supermarket chains with at least 25 stores, and one in San Francisco, to share details about how antibiotics were used in the production systems that supply their meats.
Now you may be wondering, how does a city ordinance in San Francisco affect some one living in Minnesota? Because many of the large grocery stores we have here in Minnesota are nation wide, for example Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Costco all have at least one store in San Francisco and therefore would have to comply with the city ordinance. Rather than publishing the antibiotic use information on the product label, it will be posted on the city website, making it accessible for everyone. The insight into the antibiotic practices of the major branded meat suppliers could have national implications.
For each meat and poultry brand they sell, the chains would need to provide the average number of days each animal received antibiotics, the percentage of animals affected, and the total volume of antibiotics used by that brand.
The major meat brands finish the vast majority of their animals in CAFOs – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. When large numbers of animals are concentrated in giant barns, or on small plots of land, animal waste quickly become a problem that doesn’t go away.
It’s challenging to keep animals healthy under such conditions. As a result, it’s common practice for CAFO’s to include antibiotics in the daily feed. Antibiotics also help animals gain weight faster, so there is a dual purpose.
In recent years, it has been widely reported that we have a problem with the overuse of antibiotics. It has lead to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA and other superbugs.
While most might think that is primarily due to doctor prescriptions, the truth is that nearly 80% of antibiotics in the US are used in livestock production. Needless to say, large meat producers don’t want consumers wondering about antibiotic usage when buying meat. The last thing they want is to have that information published for the world to see.
Additionally, on January 1, 2018, California will become the very first state to monitor the use of antibiotics in animals and ban their use for animals that are not sick. That only applies to animals raised in California, but it’s likely to be the leading edge of more widespread legislation to curtail the abuse and overuse of antibiotics in livestock production systems.
At Pettit Pastures we are certified by the American Grassfed Association. Their certification prohibits all uses of Antibiotics, Hormones and Glycoposphates. So you can have confidence that all the beef and pork you buy from us was raised in a manner safe for the animals, the environment and safe for you and your family to eat!
Here is a link to the San Francisco Chronicle about the city ordinance.