Consumers Not Aware of Antibiotic Use

May 29, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A new survey says only 48 percent of Americans are aware of livestock being given feed containing antibiotics.

The research conducted by Synovate (formerly Market Facts) for Whole Foods found only 27 percent of respondents were aware of scientific concerns that the overuse of antibiotics in feed may be lessening their effectiveness when treating humans.

The organization, The Union of Concerned Scientists, estimates 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the US are fed to animals.

Congress may be considering legislation to restrict the use of antibiotics in animal feed. Support for legislation of this type has support from groups including the American Medical Association, according to a released statement from Whole Foods.

Moderator’s Comment: What position should retailers
take on meat from livestock fed antibiotics?

Whole Foods Market only carries meat from livestock given
feed that does not carry antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts.

Margaret Wittenberg, vice president, governmental and
public affairs, Whole Foods Market said, “We want to educate consumers that
alternative meat products that have been raised without antibiotics or added
growth hormones are available. Whole Foods Market believes truly natural meats
taste better, and they help avoid the health risk of developing antibiotic resistance.
Our standards also include provisions for the humane rearing and slaughter of
animals.” [George
Anderson – Moderator

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