Costco announces new policy to reduce antibiotic use across meat supply chains


Costco Wholesale announced it is updating company animal welfare standards to reduce the use of medically important antibiotics in its meat and poultry supply chains.

Announced earlier this week on the same day as McDonald’s own policy commitment, Costco’s new direction follows similar lines to the seller of Big Macs.

“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 says.

Both McDonald’s’ and Costco’s policy falls in line with Canada’s latest regulations, effective December 1, 2018, which now requires veterinary oversight to access most antibiotics for livestock use. (Read the full government rules, here).

Over the next two years, Costco plans to “develop and apply protocols for assessing compliance with this policy,” which may include:

  • 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.

Costco commits to announcing a compliance date for its supply chains “on or before December, 2020,” and says it will assess the feasibility of “eliminating the routine use of medically important antibiotics for prevention of disease among supplier farms.”


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