Going shopping for a 4th of July barbecue? Consider burger, chicken, or steak raised without antibiotics, since that might help slow the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Most of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are are actually used on factory farms, to make the animals grow faster and to prevent disease in crowded and unsanitary conditions. That creates "superbugs" on farms, which are dangerous bacteria resistant to one or more antibiotics. That can be a real problem if you get sick and your antibiotics don't work.
Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumer Reports, says:
We are urging consumers to say no to meat raised with antibiotic drugs to help stop the superbugs.
Unfortunately, it's not always easy to understand what "no antibiotics" labeling mean. So we sent secret shoppers to 136 supermarkets in 23 states and collected info on more than 1,100 meat packages. Our experts did additional research and analyzed the labeling.
Our shoppers found a bunch of different labels related to antibiotic use, such as, "never ever given antibiotics" and "antibiotic-free." The first one might sound silly, but is actually approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The second one is not.
Meat labeled "organic" is always raised without antibiotics. But "natural" doesn't tell you anything about how the animal was raised.
Read more about what the labeling look like and what they mean.
And our shoppers found it pays to shop around. Prices really varied by store, type of meat and cut, but our shoppers found some nice prices. Chicken raised without antibiotics was sold for as little as $1.29 a pound at several stores including Trader Joe's, Publix, and Jewel-Osco.