Although sales of antibiotic-free meat comprise a tiny fraction of the total market, retailers like Whole Foods, Costco and Trader Joe’s cannot get enough antibiotic-free meat to meet the demand, according to a New York Times report. In a Consumer Reports National Research Center telephone survey, more than 60 percent of respondents
said they would be willing to pay at least five cents a pound more for meat raised without antibiotics.
For three years, Scott Sechler, owner of Bell & Evans, an organic meat processing company near Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania, has been feeding his chickens a specially milled diet laced with oregano oil and a touch of cinnamon as a method to fight off bacterial diseases that plague meat and poultry producers without resorting to antibiotics, which some experts say can be detrimental to the humans that eat the meat.
Noodles & Company, a fast-growing chain of more than 300 restaurants, has added antibiotic-free pork to the ingredients customers can add to their pastas. It ensured a year’s supply in advance by committing to receiving cuts of meat that were not in relatively high demand. Dan Fogarty, executive vice president, remarks, “We’re deliberately voting with our pocketbooks.”