A poll published Thursday by a consumer advocacy group found that a majority of shoppers want Trader Joe's to stop selling meat and poultry from animals that were fed antibiotics.
The Monrovia-based grocery chain has been under pressure by Consumer Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports magazine.
The poll found that 69% of shoppers who have bought meat at Trader Joe's think the company should pull from its shelves meat raised on antibiotics.
The poll also found that most shoppers, nearly 80%, were unaware that some meat sold at the chain had been raised on the drugs.
"Trader Joe's is clearly not living up to its customers' expectations when it comes to antibiotics and meat," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union. "Trader Joe's customers want the company to take a stand on this critical public health issue by refusing to sell meat from animals routinely fed antibiotics."
The poll surveyed 1,120 California residents in May and early June who bought meat or poultry at Trader Joe's and other supermarkets.
In May, Consumer Union ran a full-page advertisement in The Times urging Trader Joe's to change its practices. Consumer Union says that while several other supermarket chains sell antibiotic-fed meat, it is singling out Trader Joe's because a majority of the company's sales come from private-label products and Trader Joe's has more control over its supply chain.
The company has defended itself, saying that it sells a selection of antibiotic-free chicken, beef, turkey, ham and lamb. It also offers private-label goods that shun genetically engineered ingredients, or GMOs.
"We understand the importance of our customers' decisions when it comes to their grocery shopping and do not presume to make choices for them," the company said in a statement. "We work hard to offer products we think fit our customers' needs — covering a range of considerations."