San Francisco Supervisors consider new bill requiring meat antibiotic reporting

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is expected to be the first city in the country to force supermarkets to report the use of antibiotics in raw meat products. The goal is to reduce the number of drug-resistant infections.

Right now when you go to a supermarket some products label their meats as antibiotic-free, but for the most part, you don't really know.

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy introduced the "Right to Know Ordinance" in order to change that.

"This is to let them know what they're buying. This is to get the big chains to actually change what they purchase," said Jeff Sheehy.

Here's how it would work: Raw meat suppliers must let large retailers know if antibiotics are used. Those retailers must then notify San Francisco's Department of Environment. The public can then print the list.

Sheehy says it's about shifting the market. "This is really putting pressure on the market by informing consumers so consumers can push this in the directions of all antibiotic meats and poultry," said Sheehy.

At the committee hearing, Supervisors were told of the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in animals which often lead to antibiotic-resistant infections.

"The more antibiotics that are being used, the more emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance there will be," said Tomas Aragon, with the San Francisco Department of Health.

That's because antibiotics kill some of the animals' internal bacteria, but not all of them. Those left, become resistant.

The city would also purchase only antibiotic-free meats for schools, hospitals, and jails.

The measure now goes before the full board and then to the mayor.
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