For livestock producers stocking the shelves of San Francisco’s largest grocery chains, they will now need to disclose every time they used an antibiotic under a new ordinance.
Due to be signed into law later this month, the ordinance will affect any meat sold by grocery chains with 25 or more stores. Those grocery stores will be required to document antibiotic use in the meat they sell and make the information available, via a city website, to consumers.
“The San Francisco ordinance on antimicrobial use in food/animals, which will receive a second reading before the city board of supervisors next week, is an ill-conceived document that if not revised, will require expensive, duplicative reporting and recordkeeping on products already clearly marked at retail as USDA certified organic or ‘Raised without Antibiotics,’ said Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin.
“Under the city’s proposal certain food retail establishments, including both traditional grocers and specialty food retail establishments with 25 or more stores nationwide, will be forced to produce and maintain redundant paperwork about antimicrobial usage or non-usage in meat. This information is already predominantly provided and federally regulated on the fresh meat label for those consumers who seek products from animals raised without antibiotics. Shoppers have the option to purchase certified organic products or products that are labeled as ‘Raised without Antibiotics’ or an approved variation of this nomenclature. The San Francisco ordinance fails to recognize that these meat cuts are – by definition – free from antimicrobial treatments.
“Furthermore, the ordinance discounts the antimicrobial regulatory authority under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Residue Monitoring Program administered by FDA, EPA and USDA, which exists to ensure that veterinary drugs, such as antibiotics, and chemical compounds are used as intended, and that the food supply is safe for consumption.”