Progressive Grocer

SEP 2016

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104 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | September 2016 Feature Animal Welfare Albertsons-Safeway, H-E-B, Hy-Vee and Walmart adopting strict guidelines for procuring meat, poul- try, seafood and eggs. But what about tomorrow? Some issues will continue to be relevant, while other, new ones likely will arise. So what should grocers and their supplier partners prepare for? The Great Antibiotic Debate One of the bigger issues likely to concern grocers and suppliers in the coming years already exists: the use of antibiotics on animals. A growing number of consum- ers, some concerned about a rise in more resistant strains of bacteria, are seeking products from animals raised without antibiotics, and retailers are catching on to this demand, according to Brian Roelofs, VP of sales at GNP Co., a St. Cloud, Minn.-based poultry processor. To meet this demand in the future, grocers and their supplier partners need to start working either to stop using all antibiotics or to limit use to those not used to treat humans. However, an issue here is that a supplier committed to humane care may have to care for an animal or flock with antibiotics in the event of illness, Roelofs notes. "If that occurs at GNP Co., we humanely treat those birds with antibiot- ics, and then consequently, they will not be processed under the Gold'n Plump brand," he says. "We've found that typi- cally, the retailer or restaurant will work with the processor or supplier that aligns with their customer's wishes or values." For those grocers and suppliers still pro- cessing and selling meat made from ani- mals treated with antibiotics (by law, all meat must be free of antibiotics when slaughtered), another concern could arise: How much? To date, no standardized unit of measurement ac- tually exists for antibiotic treatment, says Steward Leeth, VP of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer at Smithfield Foods, a Smithfield, Va.-based pork processor. is reality, he believes, needs to change. "is standardization would inform a more meaningful discussion of antibiotics that is understandable to the general public," he asserts. Undersea Issues Some of the other issues likely to grow in importance down the road vary by animal type. With fish, concern over harvest method, or "kill technology," could be of stronger concern in the coming years. To prepare here, grocers in the United States should look to their European counterparts, as the latter are "much farther ahead" when it comes to animal welfare, contends Jacqueline Claudia, CEO of LoveeWild, a Boulder, Colo.-based supplier of convenience-minded frozen fish dishes. For instance, U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer goes as far as to dictate harvest method for its farmed fish, a level of transparency unseen do- mestically. If U.S. grocers begin making similar demands, the domestic seafood industry would have to make substantial investments in new technology, since "you can't just easily load live fish on a truck and take them to a different processing plant like you can with cows," Claudia points out. "If the average consumer thought about what it's like to struggle and die at the end of a long line like a tuna, or get crushed in a trawl like a cod and slowly suffocate, wild seafood would lose some of Make sure your suppliers are considering the science and research, and making informed decisions for their operation." —Jacqueline Claudia, LoveTheWild

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