Over a decade ago, while in San Francisco, I witnessed a handful of protesters gathered in front of a Trader Joe’s in opposition to the use of GMO corn in a cornbread mix sold at the popular market. The protest was small (maybe eight people, but they probably weren’t the only ones throughout the country) but seemingly they were heard because some time later Trader Joe’s stopped sourcing GMO ingredients.
Now with Trader Joe’s as beloved as it is and with its rabid loyal following, it is again under attack, or shall we say a campaign of persistent urging. Consumers opposed to antibiotics in their meat products are targeting Trader Joe’s to stop selling meat and poultry products that are raised with the use of antibiotics. According to an FDA report, over 80 percent of the antibiotics used in America are dumped into factory-farmed animals in order to keep them alive, and this abundance of antibiotics is contributing to resistant strains of bacteria that aren’t great for humans. It is no wonder consumers are up in arms, but why go after Trader Joe’s?
Well, you have to start somewhere, and Trader Joe’s, with its loyal customer base and altogether cozy relationship with its shoppers, seems more likely than Walmart to listen to such concerns. Over 500,000 people have signed the petition in this Meat Without Drugs campaign (and over 26,000 signed the Care2 petition), and supporters of the campaign view the grocery chain to be in the optimum position to make these changes and then influence other competing grocery chains. The idea is where Trader Joe’s goes, so goes the country, or at least the country’s other grocery chain.
The campaign is ongoing, and there is no word yet how it will end, but I do predict a victory for the petitioners. What is your feeling about demanding such reforms from a grocery store rather than maybe a larger controlling agency? Does it make sense to start small? Will the ripple effect be significant enough to change the way we farm animals? Do you avoid meat treated with antibiotics?