Press Release: New Campaign Asks Weis Markets to Adopt Responsible Antibiotics Policy for Store-Brand Chicken

Regional Grocery Chain Sells Sanderson Farms Chicken, Poultry Company Routinely Using Medically Important Antibiotics

Fair Farms Wise Choice

For Immediate Release
January 30, 2018

Contact: Alicia LaPorte
alicia@fairfarmsnow.org
860.869.9788

Takoma Park, MD (January 30, 2018) – Fair Farms, a grassroots movement of Marylanders committed to building a sustainable and healthy food system, today launched Fair Farms Wise Choice, a campaign asking regional grocery chain Weis Markets to adopt a responsible antibiotics policy for its store-brand chicken.

Weis Markets sells Sanderson Farms chicken as their unlabeled house brand. Dismissing decades of scientific research connecting the routine use of human antibiotics in livestock with the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria globally, Sanderson Farms boasts that it “has raised its broiler chickens with antibiotics for 70 years, and has no plans to change.” Additionally, the company has launched a misleading advertising campaign criticizing farms and companies that have cut their use of antibiotics, claiming that meat raised without antibiotics is just a “marketing gimmick.”

“The Fair Farms Wise Choice campaign is asking Weis Markets to fulfill its commitment to ‘being good neighbors’ by not selling Sanderson Farms chicken as their house brand一unless Sanderson cleans up its act first,” said Fair Farms Campaign Manager Alicia LaPorte. “Antibiotics are the most important tool of modern medicine, and we all have a role to play in ensuring their responsible use so they work when we need them.”

The Fair Farms Wise Choice campaign is supported by a diverse coalition of partners representing public health organizations, research institutions, faith groups, and environmental advocacy non-profits. These groups are brought together through a shared concern about the dangers of the routine overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and other leading public health organizations have warned that unless urgent action is taken to rein in the unnecessary use of antibiotics across all sectors, we will be facing a post-antibiotic world where common infections could once again kill.

“Antibiotics should be used only when absolutely necessary, no matter if its at the doctor’s office or the barnyard. Many livestock producers in Maryland and across the world prove everyday that routine antibiotic use is not necessary to raise healthy animals, both on industrial scale operations and small farms,” said Laura Rogers, deputy director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University. “Companies like Weis Markets should choose to support producers who have responsible antibiotic use policies.”

Alicia LaPorte