Are you a regular shopper at Walmart, Costco, Albertson’s, Safeway, or Publix? If so, you’re not going to like what you’re about to read.
Each of these grocery retailers is posing a risk to its consumers, and they may not even know it. That’s because each of these five grocery megastores have failed to sell chicken that is antibiotic-free.
For one reason or another, the chains are currently unable to provide antibiotic-free chicken options. They have also made insufficient improvement in their promotion of antibiotic-free processes.
These conclusions became apparent after the Natural Resources Defense Council performed a survey of the chains’ food practices.
According to Natural News:
“For their survey, the NRDC looked at the retailers’ branches in Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. The NRDC selected these cities to represent the country’s four census regions. These locations were then graded according to the following categories: policy (20 points), consumer education at point of purchase (five points), brand score antibiotic use (20 points), and brand score certification (10 points). The raw total of these categories was 55 points, and each grocer scored as such: Walmart received 20.9 points (38 percent), Albertson’s/Safeway received 21.5 points (39 percent), Publix received 21 points (38 percent), Kroger received 18.4 points (33 percent), and Costco received 22 points (40 percent).
Sans Costco, all other retailers scored poorly in policy, which was defined as “Commitment to phase out routine use of antibiotics described on major retailer website” and “Timeline to phase out routine use of antibiotics described on major retailer website.” This was especially notable, as large chicken producers like Tyson and Perdue have moved away from or pledged to move away from the use of antibiotics. Walmart was noted as the biggest offender in this regard. Not only does the company have the most number of suppliers with antibiotic-free chicken products, but Walmart has called for greater transparency from producers. Moreover, the NRDC discovered that the retailers’ own private-label chicken brands were sourced from producers with questionable antibiotic-free practices.
As for helping consumers in making informed choices, only Publix had the necessary signage in all of their stores. All of their branches had displays that informed consumers of producers with responsible antibiotic policies. However, this did not include producers who were still in the process of phasing out antibiotics from their products. Though all the retailers offered United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified chicken or Raised Without Antibiotics (RWA) chicken, there were no indications that these poultry products had been certified by third parties.
Whole Foods may not have included in the survey, but the NRDC lauded it as the sole grocer to “have earned top score in all categories.” Their policy to sell antibiotic-free livestock products goes beyond chicken and covers beef, pork, and turkey. Whole Foods also made it easier for consumers to understand their purchases better, something that all the other retailers failed to do.
The NRDC concluded their survey by asking for retailers to commit themselves to the elimination of antibiotic-laden products from their chains, and for consumers to “vote with their wallets” by purchasing RWA and USDA-certified chicken.”
These mega grocery chains are putting their consumers at a heightened health risk by serving them chicken pumped full of antibiotics.
The purpose of the antibiotics is to cause the chicken to grow at a faster rate. They also help stop the birds from getting sick.
However, these practices become harmful to both the birds and to humans. That’s because they allow antibiotic-resistant bacteria to live in the consumer. This allows drug-resistant infections to spread.
These grocery stores feed millions of Americans every single year. Therefore, they have an enormous effect on the health of its consumers.
These mega chains must now decide whether to change their ways and serve antibiotic-free chicken, or to continue being part of the problem.