TAMPA — Days before the first Trader Joe's opens in the Tampa Bay area, a consumer advocacy group on Monday called on the specialty grocery store to stop selling meat from animals raised on antibiotics.
Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, said the overuse of antibiotics on healthy livestock threatens public health by making the medications less effective for treating disease. In a full-page ad that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, the group urged consumers to contact Trader Joe's and ask the retailer not to sell "meat from animals raised on drugs.''
Consumers Union said it was targeting Trader Joe's because 80 percent of its products are private label, which means it has more control over its suppliers and can use that leverage to increase supply and keep prices competitive. A Consumer Reports investigation found that Trader Joe's already sells some beef and much of its chicken raised without antibiotics.
In February, Chick-fil-A announced that, within five years, it will no longer sell chicken that has been raised on antibiotics. Whole Foods, Chipotle and Panera Bread have already made similar commitments.
Trader Joe's is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Friday at 3808 W Swann Ave., just west of Dale Mabry Highway.