In late 2014, the Urban School Food Alliance, a coalition of six of the nation’s largest districts (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando), announced that it would seek to buy only antibiotic-free chicken for its respective school meal programs. The organization was able to take this step by combining its considerable purchasing power and negotiating terms directly with poultry suppliers.
That was great news for the two million kids served in those cities, but many smaller districts around the country are also interested in serving antibiotic-free chicken yet can’t find it at a favorable price. To bridge this gap, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has just filed a legal petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), asking the agency to include antibiotic-free chicken among the commodity foods it makes available for school meal programs.
Why is this effort so important?
The routine use of antibiotics on factory farms can promote antibiotic-resistant “superbug” bacteria – a practice which threatens everyone’s health. Moreover, if the USDA grants the NRDC’s request, this development will further pressure the poultry industry to reconsider the routine use of medically important antibiotics.
In conjunction with its legal petition, the NDRC is also circulating a petition for the general public. So if you care about this important issue, please take a moment to sign the petition and share it on your social networks with friends and family.
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