Costco Wholesale has updated its animal welfare standards to include an antibiotic policy that it says will limit the use of antibiotics important to human medicine in the company’s meat and poultry supply chains.
“Costco Wholesale's goal is to control the use of antibiotics medically important to humans in its meat and poultry supply chains, consistent with protecting the health and welfare of our members and of poultry, hogs and cattle in our supply chains,” the company said on its website. “Our policy is to limit application of these antibiotics to therapeutic use for the prevention, control and treatment of disease and not, for example, for purposes of growth promotion or feed efficiency, and only under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian in a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship.”
The company said it will work with its suppliers and producers over the next two years to develop and apply protocols for assessing compliance with this policy, which may include (by way of example):
- Requiring the provision of certificates or affidavits by producers;
- Review of audits commissioned by producers and suppliers;
- Audits commissioned by Costco Wholesale, and
- Product testing.
The company also plans, on or before December 2020, to set a target date by which compliance with the policy will be mandatory and monitored and assess the feasibility of eliminating the routine use of medically important antibiotics for prevention of disease among supplier farms.
“Application of this policy will be guided by our interpretation of Food & Drug Administration Guidance #209 and #213 Veterinary Feed Directive, which discontinues the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion and requires veterinary oversight of all medically important antibiotics,” the company said.