LATimes_TJ_ad_1014_cropA special message was delivered today to Trader Joe’s headquarters in Monrovia, CA from 2000 medical professionals from across the country:

We write with an urgent request for Trader Joe’s to be a proactive leader in the fight to preserve our antibiotics, and end the sale of meat from livestock producers that routinely and inappropriately administer these drugs to their animals.

The letter points to the fact that producers of livestock and poultry use drugs like penicillin and tetracycline – the same drugs doctors rely on to treat infections in humans –  to promote growth rates and to prevent infections in the often crowded and unsanitary conditions found on factory farms.  “Antibiotics should never be used to prevent disease or make animals grow faster.  While public health campaigns have helped to curb the use of antibiotics in humans, antibiotic use in animals raised for meat and poultry is still increasing,” reads the letter.

A full page ad in the LA Times today (image, above) highlights this message from health professionals, and cites a new Consumer Reports poll that found 93% of doctors are concerned about the use of antibiotics in industrial livestock production facilities.

Over 80% of Trader Joe’s products are private label, which means the chain has more control over its suppliers and can use that leverage to increase supply and keep prices competitive.

“Trader Joe’s is in an excellent position to be a real industry leader on this issue,” said Jean Halloran. “It could make a big difference by sourcing its meat from suppliers that don’t rely on antibiotics to keep animals healthy in crowded and unsanitary conditions. We are urging Trader Joe’s to take a stand for public health by responding to the hundreds of thousands of consumers and over 2,000 medical professionals across the country who have asked the store to make this commitment.”

Jason Newland, M.D., Medical Director of Patient Safety at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, signed the letter to Trader Joe’s. “We all must take action to save the effectiveness of these drugs. This means doctors shouldn’t prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, and patients and parents shouldn’t demand an antibiotic when it’s not necessary. It also means the meat industry must stop using antibiotics for growth promotion and to prevent infections of healthy animals.”

You can stand with the medical community:   call Trader Joe’s and ask them to make a commitment to public health, and end their sale of meat raised on antibiotics.