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Nation’s Top Grocery Stores Get ‘D’ Grade on Antibiotic-Free Chicken, Says NRDC

MAY 17, 2017 by EMILY MONACO

The Natural Resources Defense Council has assigned a “D” grade to America’s top five grocery store chains for their progress – or lack thereof – on the promotion of better antibiotic practices and antibiotic-free chicken offerings.

The NRDC’s new report, entitled “Crying Fowl: Major Grocers Stumble in Promoting Antibiotic Stewardship in Retail Chicken,” was released yesterday and investigates if and how Costco, Albertson’s/Safeway, Publix, Walmart, and Kroger market and sell antibiotic-free chicken brands.

These five chains represent more than 50 percent of the market share in North America. Overall scores attributed to each of the retailers in the report were as follows: Costco (40%), Albertson’s/Safeway (39%), Publix (38%), Walmart (38%), and Kroger (33%).

“The grades reflect the fact that none of the top five retailers have made a strong public commitment to addressing antibiotic overuse in the supply chains for chicken sold in their stores,” notes a news release for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The top five grocery store chains in the country feed millions of Americans, so their actions have a big impact on public health — for better or worse,” said Carmen Cordova, staff scientist with the NRDC. “Supermarkets can either continue to ignore the spread of drug-resistant infections, or they can answer their customers’ call to be a part of the solution.”

While this is certainly a hurdle to overcome, many retailers and restaurants in the United States have committed to addressing antibiotic overuse in livestock, particularly in recent months. Whole Foods, for example, has a storewide policy for antibiotic-free meat, and several fast food restaurants including KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box,