The New York Times on Feb. 12 reported, “Meat producers use antibiotics to prevent sickness in animals raised in close quarters in industrial farming operations. Chickens are treated with a small dose of gentamycin while still in the ovo stage to prevent sickness that could destroy flocks.”
Chick-fil-A committed themselves in February to a five-year plan no longer to sell products containing meat from chickens raised with antibiotics. That’s the good news combined with the bad news; too bad it’s going to take five years to realize the benefit.
A growing number of restaurant chains have joined in the change to antibiotic-free food; Panera Bread and Chipotle have made commitments to serve meat only from animals raised without antibiotics. There are other changes as well, but they fail to impress Michele Simon, a public health lawyer. She writes, “All of this makes for great PR, but it doesn’t mean the products are necessarily more delicious.”
Don’t look for a downward trend in buyer costs either by the removal of offending additives. Chick-fil-A executives have stated, “Typically, antibiotic-produced chicken is more expensive than traditionally produced poultry.”
For any doubters out there, take a look at your egg selection area at Market Basket, Shaw’s and Stop & Shop. White eggs routinely sell for $1.69/dozen, brown eggs, $2.49. But antibiotic-free eggs from Land O’Lakes command $3.89/dozen, CFO Organic eggs advertised as “all natural” cage free is $3.99/dozen. Wild Harvest Cage Free from antibiotics is $2.99/dozen. Nellie’s Cage Free, no hormones and no antibiotics, is $3.99/dozen.
All I can say is, caveat emptor or “Let the buyer beware!
Robert D. Campbell, an essayist who lives in Newburyport, believes that a sense of humor is essential.