The U.S. pork industry is letting restaurant chain Subway know it is not happy with its decision to eliminate the use of all antibiotics in its supply of pork and other meats sold at its U.S. locations.
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and National Pork Board (NPB) placed a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, voicing concerns with Subway’s new policy.
The ad, which was published on October 29, appears in the form of an open letter to the Subway management team and franchisee owners, and is signed America’s Pig Farmers, with the NPPC and NPB’s Pork Checkoff logos at the bottom.
In the letter, the pork organizations tell Subway “any policy decision to eliminate antibiotics from your protein supply sources – poultry, pork and beef – would be a significant departure from what many other food companies are doing in regards to improving responsible antibiotic use. This policy decision could put our food system in jeopardy,” and the restaurant chain’s new policy could “compromise the safety of our food system” because healthy animals help farmers produce safe food.”
The groups further state that they feel everyone needs to do their part to use antibiotics responsibly and reduce the antibiotic threat, but says that quickly phasing out any use of antibiotics also used in human medicine for growth promotion purposes and increasing veterinary oversight are actions that farmers and ranchers are already taking.
NPPC and NPB acknowledged in the letter that some groups will applaud the restaurant chain’s decision, but questions whether those same groups will favor the move if a large number of animals are adversely affected by the no-antibiotics policy.
The groups, which according to NPPC reportedly reached out multiple times to the CEO of Subway but did not receive any responses, went on to invite Subway to a meaningful dialogue concerning finding ways to address responsible antibiotic use that are based on sound science.