Restaurant and pub chains urged to take a stand on suppliers’ use of antibiotics
April 28, 2016
There is growing concern over the use of antibiotics in agriculture, with the animals we eat consuming 60% of the world’s antibiotics. Whilst experts agree antibiotics should be used for the treatment of sick animals, irresponsible practices such as growth promotion or routine disease prevention are a cause for great concern.
Many leading figures believe the overuse of drugs in farm animals is linked, via the food chain, to the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. In a recent article in The Guardian, Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, has described the result as “an apocalyptic scenario”, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned antibiotic use in livestock production is contributing to the global threat of a “post-antibiotic era”.
This mounting concern has led a group of powerful city investors to write to leading restaurant chains and pub groups, urging them to take immediate action to reduce the use of antibiotics in their meat and poultry supply chains. With growing consumer awareness of the issues, investors are concerned about the risk to customers, the impact this could have to brand and reputation and ultimately share value.
Mike Edmunds, Managing Director at Trade Interchange, said: “Under mounting pressure from consumers and shareholders, it makes sense for companies to start thinking about how they are addressing these challenges before it is too late. Companies without a process in place for adapting to changes in legislation are putting themselves at great risk, brand image and reputation are on the line, which has a direct impact on share value.”
The article hints that regulation on antibiotic use is set to tighten. There could be big challenges for companies who are slow to respond to mounting public pressure. However, forward-thinking organisations are already looking at this issue and many are beginning to develop policies for tackling antibiotic use on farms and have responsible sourcing policies in place.
Edmunds added: “There is a definite trend towards responsible sourcing. We work with a number of restaurant and pub chains and most have policies in place already to enable complete visibility and transparency over their supply chains.
“If regulations about the use of these drugs in meat and poultry farming were to tighten tomorrow, many other organisations would have a lot of work to do to ensure that their suppliers are compliant and also have a challenge to monitor this, especially those with large or complex supply chains.
“Luckily for our ARCUS® SIM customers, it would just be a matter of adding new questions to their supplier questionnaires. The changes would be pushed out to the suppliers to complete themselves and it would be very easy for the person responsible for gathering this information to monitor the progress of this. I expect that they would be fully compliant in just a few days with minimal administrative burdens.”
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