If you’d rather not swallow a mystery dose of antibiotics along with your pork-chop dinner, it helps to know where you can buy antibiotic-free meat in the first place. The Fix Antibiotics food map, which launched this summer on Real Time Farms lets you enter your zip code and search for stores, farms, eateries, and farmers’ markets that do just that.
The map is part of a larger campaign led by FixFood, a non-profit run by documentary filmmaker Robert Kenner, to reduce the use of antibiotics in factory-farmed cows, hogs, and poultry. Kenner’s 2008 movie Food Inc. was nominated for an Academy Award for pulling the curtain back on some of the commercial food industry’s more unsavory practices. For the new Fix Antibiotics campaign, Kenner made a brief video that explains how antibiotics are being overused and why that’s a public health problem. "This system is creating antibiotic-resistant superbugs, making us all vulnerable to diseases [that antibiotics] once cured," says the video’s narrator, actor Bill Paxton.
The third part of the campaign is a petition asking the Trader Joe’s grocery chain to stock only antibiotic-free meat. (The California-based company has already committed to selling only sustainably farmed seafood by the end of 2012.) The petition, which is available on Change.org, Credo, and Meat Without Drugs, has gotten nearly 300,000 digital signatures since it launched in late June.
The action-oriented effort to inform the public about excess antibiotics in their food is laudable, and Kenner’s web video does a nice job of summarizing the issue in his video, but Real Time Farms’ Fix Antibiotics map still needs work. There were no listings in my bustling Manhattan neighborhood (where I know for a fact that you can buy antibiotic-free chicken at the local supermarket). And since users are only allowed to add listings for farmers’ markets and farms—not retailers or eateries—I couldn’t put my local grocery store on the map. Bummer.
So, if anyone wants to start a petition asking Real Time Farms to make its Fix Antibiotics food map fully crowdsourced, count me in.