In a 2016 report card from a consortium of consumer and food safety groups, Starbucks received an ‘F’ for routine use of antibiotics in the poultry, beef and pork it used relative to its industry peers. The significance of Starbucks’ poor ranking comes from a recent consumer trends report showing 66 percent of consumers stating the importance of antibiotic-free meat in the stores where they shop.
It is estimated that 70 percent of antibiotics used to fight human infections and ensure safety during invasive medical procedures are sold for use in meat and dairy production. Some experts claim this use causes antibiotic resistance, according to a statement from Green Century. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says antibiotic resistance causes approximately 2 million human illnesses and 23,000 deaths a year in the US.
“It’s our job to promote the values of our investors and evaluate the risks and trends of the market in relation to our investments,” Marissa LaFave, shareholder advocate at Green Century said in a statement.
“Our success with Starbucks and other companies on this issue is a win for the environment and public health,” Leslie Samuelrich, president of Green Century added.
Starbucks’ new policy levels the company with peers including McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Subway and Chick-fil-A, companies that have recently adopted similar policies to end or phase out the use and purchase of meat raised with routine antibiotic use.
In addition, Starbucks has updated its animal welfare statement to include a new commitment for all broiler chickens produced to align with Global Animal Partnership standards by 2024.