506 words, approx. 3 minutes to read
Like our members and customers, we care deeply about the welfare of animals used to produce our meat. Our Co-op does not allow antibiotics to be administered to animals used in our supply chain, unless a vet has provided a prescription.
That’s why today, at our Antimicrobial Resistance Forum in Manchester, we’ve launched the Co-op’s latest Antibiotics Policy which details how:
We’ve been working together with the British agricultural and veterinary industries, other retailers, our farmers and leading bodies to take a truly co-operative approach to tackling this challenging topic.
Why is it important that we have a policy on antibiotics?
We need to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance to human health and because our role as a responsible and ethical retailer dictates that we must be transparent in this area.
The team and I have been working on this for nearly five years and it’s something I’m personally very proud of.
Working with farmers and partners for better animal welfare
One of the most crucial parts of our strategy is the collection and recording of valid data from our farming groups, so we can monitor our progress against industry targets and publish this data every six months. The strengthened relationship with farmers and suppliers, afforded by our farming groups, means we can have open conversations right across our supply chain that are built on honesty, fairness, and trust. It’s one of the reasons we set up the groups all those years ago.
This is also about working together with the wider industry – other grocers, vets and official bodies like the RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance), who have set targets for the reduction, refinement and replacement of antibiotics in animals used in food production and the Food Standards Agency, who carry out regular check-ups.
The results so far
To give you an idea of how we’re doing, we can look to our Dairy Farming Group and the ground-breaking antibiotic monitoring project we are participating in:
Together with industry partners we introduced a new method of monitoring called Average Daily Dose, which takes the farmer’s antibiotics sales from their own vet and then divides it by the average number of cows in the period.
Over the last two years this project has helped farmers and vets make informed choices and reduced total antibiotic use by 13% (45% in critically important antibiotics).
Investing in British agriculture
As a staunch supporter of British agriculture and with plans to invest a further £1bn in to sourcing home-grown meat over the next three years, I hope you can see that our focus on antibiotics and “doing the right thing” is steadfast.
We’re very proud to report on how our transparent and collaborative approach in the field of antibiotic usage is helping animals and consumers alike.
Head of Agriculture