As food science struggles to keep its place at the American table, keep a close eye on antibiotics in livestock as the next villain to pop with mainstream consumers.
There's this video from Fix Food, an advocacy group with the chops to deliver a powerful message thanks to Robert Kenner, the organization's founder who previously directed the documentary Food, Inc. Collective awareness of superbugs and antibiotic-resistant disease strains moving lockstep with the escalating use of antiobiotics in animal husbandry lays the groundwork here, and now, the citizens are acting up.
Consumers Union, parent to the popular magazine Consumer Reports, just delivered 500,000 signatures to Trader Joe's, calling on the retailer in person at a Manhattan location to stop selling meat from animals raised on antibiotics. According to Bob Vosburgh over at Supermarket News:
"The petition drive and the public delivery of the signatures marks a departure from the non-profit organization’s starchy history of seeking change through government regulation. The more assertive stance of approaching companies directly is the result of frustration at the slow pace at the Food and Drug Administration and livestock industry are taking to crack down on antibiotic use, officials said."
That's where things get interesting. Nutrition Business Journal continues to see the advance of natural products in the marketplace as symptomatic of larger system change increasingly driven by consumers.
Pink slime will happen again—perhaps with antibiotics in livestock, perhaps not—but it will happen again as transparency surfaces more and more villains from within our conventional food supply.
This is rough terrain for food producers and retailers to navigate, but it's terrain that will only get rockier in the weeks and months to come. Activism is on the rise, chemicals are in decline, and the consumer is more empowered than ever to be final arbiter of what ultimately makes it into our food.