Lidl has hit back at claims it is falling short in reducing antibiotic use in its supply chain, after being singled out as the UK’s worst performing supermarket by pressure group the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics.
The discounter came bottom in a league table published by the Alliance (ASOA) this week, which measured the efforts of the UK’s biggest supermarkets on a list of seven criteria: readily available policy; restrictions on antibiotics deemed critically important to human health (CIAs); monitoring usage; bans on colistin; bans on routine use of antibiotoics; publication of usage data; and reduction strategies in place.
The discounter was the only retailer of the eight investigated that failed to fulfil any of the criteria set out in the report.
However, Lidl has disputed the findings, telling The Grocer it is part of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture alliance’s (Ruma) ongoing effort to reduce usage, meaning it fulfilled ASOA’s reduction strategy condition.
“Our animal welfare policy also bans routine antibiotic usage,” said a Lidl spokeswoman. “All of Lidl’s British meat is Red Tractor assured, meaning our suppliers are required to meet Red Tractor antibiotic use standards, which ban the use of colistin in poultry, and states that antibiotic usage must be tracked for annual review.”
She added Lidl “ticked at least two boxes”, having recently published its antibiotic policy online.
Asda and The Co-op were second worst performers in the table, fulfilling only two standards. However, the pair also rejected the study’s claims and insisted they were committed to reducing the use of antibiotics in their supply chains.
Ruma chairman Gwyn Jones backed the ASOA’s call for better data collection but stressed a ban on antibiotics would have “unintended consequences” for animal welfare.