Just days after McDonald’s announced it will phase out antibiotics that are vital to human medicine from its poultry supply chain, Costco announced that is has plans to do the same – for chicken and for other meats too.
“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,” said Craig Wilson, the retailer’s vice-president of food safety, in an interview with Reuters.
The second-largest retailer in the country, Costco sells 80 million rotisserie chickens per year. Such a market makes it similar to McDonalds – the country’s leading fast-food chain – in terms of its influence on the market. This member-only discount chain may be just one supermarket, and McDonald’s is just one fast food chain, but their buying power and example could be significant enough to make their standards the livestock industry’s standards by default.
Overuse of antibiotics in the raising of animals for food is a dangerous and ineffective practice that can lead to a variety of ailments in the human body, most notably a disrupted intestinal environment which contributes to diseases through candida overgrowth. Not only that, many experts believe that overuse of antibiotics is also leading to a new generation of resistant superbugs that are largely untreatable by pharmaceuticals. While government regulations might not be cracking down on over-use of antibiotics, every individual has the opportunity to protect their health by becoming educated on the dangers of GMOs, remove hormones-treated food from their diet, and learn the reasons to abstain from antibiotic-treated meat.
If both McDonald’s and Costco follow through with their plans, they will have succeeded where the Food and Drug Administration has failed. Antibiotic resistant bacteria develops in concentrated animal feeding operates and costs the U.S. Health care system $20 billion in a year, yet the agency has only responded with voluntary regulations.
According to Reuters, Costco is working with both suppliers and “regulatory agencies” to make the shift away from antibiotics. However, the chain did not promise to complete the change within a certain time frame, so we’ll so what advances are made in the near future.
Regardless, whether or not you eat meat or would even buy a rotisserie chicken from Costco in the future, the company taking this step will make it much more likely that antibiotics will continue to work in the future.