The 2nd Largest Retail Chain in America is Removing the Antibiotics From the Meat


Costco declared that it will phase out drugs that are essential to human medicine from its chain

When it comes to the food industry, it would turn up that good news always comes in twos.

Hershey and Nestle in February declared in quick sequence that they would be moving away from artificial ingredients and flavors in their sweets. Just a few days after McDonald’s claims that it would phase antibiotics that are important to the human medicine out of its poultry, Costco announced that it plans to do the same thing for the chicken and also for the other meats.

Craig Wilson, who is the retailer’s vice-president of food safety, told Reuters: “I mean, you’ve got to protect human health apart from everything, and so we think removing shared-use antibiotics is the right way to go.”

The member-only discount chain in 2014 was the 2nd largest retailer in the country, selling 80 million rotisserie chickens in one year. That type of market share makes Costco very similar to McDonald’s, which is the leading fast-food chain in the country, in terms of its influence on the market. Even if Costco is only one supermarket, McDonald’s only one fast-food chain, it could be that their purchasing power could be important enough to make their standards the standards of the livestock industry by default.

If that is the case at the end – which some experts working in that field, like Sasha Stashwick, who is a senior advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s food and agriculture program, believe – retailers will have achieved where the FDA or Food and Drug Administration has failed. Despite the antibiotic resistant bacteria that grows in concentrated animal feeding operation, costs the health care system of the United States $20 billion a year, the agency has just responded with voluntary regulations.

Also, Wilson told Reuters that Costco is working with “regulatory agencies” and suppliers in order to make the shift away from the antibiotics. But, the chain didn’t guarantee to finish the change within a certain time frame.

Even if you wouldn’t buy a rotisserie chicken from Costco once the company does removing the drugs, it aids make it that much more likely that the antibiotics will keep on working in the future.