Following suit after an announcement by McDonald’s, Costco’s vice president of food safety has disclosed the retailer’s intent to restrict the antibiotics in the chicken and meat that it sells.
The company has been working with both the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration to phase out the antibiotics. These are the same antibiotics used to fight human infections. Costco sells over 80 million rotisserie chickens every year. No target date for the Costco’s goal has been set. The Center for Veterinary Medicine is involved in the effort as well.
Tyson was the first large operation to begin cutting antibiotics. They’ve claimed a reduction of 84 percent since 2011. Chick-fil-A followed. Perdue claims more than 95 percent of its chickens are raised without human antibiotics, while more than 50 percent are raised with no antibiotics at all.
Use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine and science is legal, but human infections from antiboitic-resistent bacteria are rising. The fear is that a super-bacteria might mutate and develop and be resistent to antibiotics. The Food and Drug Administration has only issued voluntary guidelines for use by those who raise poultry, beef and pigs. In 2014, net sales at Costco were $110 billion. Meat, poultry, deli and bakery items made up 13 percent of that sum.