Monitoring for Accountability
How has the consumer movement changed agribusiness practices by changing the procurement of those who buy their products (e.g., McDonald’s, Panera, KFC, Subway, and others)?
How has the Chain Reaction scorecard been successful?
Why have we seen gains in curbing non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in poultry, but not as much in beef and pork?
Are there double standards in how these multinational restaurant franchises are adopting changes in the sourcing of food animal products raised without the routine use of antibiotics?
Oceana responds to Chilean salmon industry to reduce antibiotics by 50%
In the quest for a “Good Alternative” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, companies representing nearly four-fifths of the salmon industry in Chile pledged to decrease their use of antibiotics by 2025. These companies include Cermaq Chile, Australis, Blumar, and Salmones among others, and together, make up the Chilean Salmon Marketing Council, which will partner with SalmonChile and the Monterey Bay Aquarium to become officially the Chilean Salmon Antibiotic Reduction Program (CSARP). Tackling one of the top priorities in the industry, and representing one of the largest initiatives taken in this sector, companies hope to curb antibiotic use and gain the “Good Alternative” rating to produce more sustainably and attract more attention from the US market. To these promises, Oceana has responded that the fundamental issue has been a lack of transparency throughout the industry. Since 2014, Oceana has requested information through the government’s Transparency Law, on the frequency and magnitude of certain antibiotics used in salmon production, and the majority of the industry has refused to give the information willingly. As a result, Oceana hopes that the industry will provide easier access to this information, and thus demonstrate increased transparency to match their promise of decreasing antibiotic use by the year 2025.
US PIRG calls for attention on antibiotic use in Wendy’s beef
The US PIRG Education Fund, a consumer advocacy organization, has called for the removal of routine antibiotic use in the beef supply for Wendy's, the third-largest burger chain in the United States. While past actions around antibiotics reduction in the food supply has been mostly around chicken, the beef industry continues to purchase more medically important antibiotics than any other meat sector, leading to a gross overuse of these antibiotics. With nearly half of the poultry industry now on track to the proper use of antibiotics in their meat supply chain, the beef industry remains reliant on routine antibiotic use. However, like the poultry industry, measures such as routine vaccines, keeping cattle on pasture for longer, and feeding diets with more roughage could reduce the need for antibiotics. Moreover, consumer pressure, like in the poultry industry, could serve as the largest force. As a result, US PIRG is focusing on Wendy’s, a company that has already pledged to serve chicken without medically important antibiotics, and continues to take modest steps towards reducing the use of antibiotics in its beef supply chain without external pressure. If consumers and medical professionals, as well as consumer advocacy organizations such as US PIRG continue to provide pressure on Wendy’s to make changes to their beef production to exclude medically important antibiotics, a similar change could be seen throughout the beef industry. This change is especially needed now, as the 2018 Chain Reaction IV: Burger Edition Report found that 22 out of the 25 top American burger chains are receiving F’s in sourcing beef without the use of antibiotics, with Wendy’s scoring a D-. As Matt Wellington, director of US PIRG’s Campaign to Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics, remarks, “Wendy’s likes to say it’s ‘deliciously different.’ Here’s a chance for the company to differentiate itself by being a leader in combating antibiotic resistance.”