Coop Italy, antibiotic-free fish


‘Let’s raise health’ – the pioneering campaign of Coop Italy for the animal welfare – extends to the fish of aquaculture.

After meat, fish. From October 2018, Coop Italy extends to the fresh seafood sector the ‘

Let’s raise health

. The initiative aimed at reducing-and where possible excluding-the use of antibiotics on the farms of suppliers of Coop-branded products is now also being applied to sea bream, sea bass, rainbow trout and bass perch, turbot, and salmon. On these species, whose life cycle reaches two years, the use of antibiotics is strictly excluded in the six months prior to capture.

The first supply chains to join the campaign, Coop Italia reports, count 11 suppliers, 11 processing plants, 135 aquaculture facilities and 20 feed mills. All committed to working according to shared specifications, subject to strict controls.

Animal health and welfare

The widespread use of antibiotics

on farms-both for the treatment of sick animals and in prevention-is one of the primary causes of antibiotic resistance.

Indeed, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, and the release of residues into the water, has caused a drastic reduction in their effectiveness. And this, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) could be the world’s leading cause of death in 2050.

Reducing-and when possible, eliminating-the use of antibiotics also promotes animal welfare. Indeed, such a path requires constant improvements in breeding farms so that captive populations are healthy.

Coop Italy has

already started this path successfully, for about 18 months, on white meat and eggs

, beef and pork, branded cured meats. It is now the turn of aquaculture that provides fresh fish.

The plants chosen are mainly in Italy; on the foreign front are those in Spain and Portugal for turbot and in Scotland for salmon. These are larger, lower-density plants where fish have more space to swim and develop muscles. Freshwater fish are raised in large tanks on land, while saltwater fish live in cages located directly offshore, except for turbot, which are raised in tanks on land‘. (Coop Italy, press release).

Coop-branded fish life

For fish raised in the supply chain which supplies Coop brand products the elimination of antibiotics is achieved through good practices aimed at safeguarding animal health. Namely:

– Reduction in herd density,

– appropriate prophylaxis, therapy, and collection methods to limit animal stress,

– Constant monitoring of water quality,

implementation of Friend of the Sea, Global Gap or Asc certification protocols on the sanitation, traceability and sustainable fisheries fronts,

– Feeding non-GMO feed, free of ingredients from terrestrial animals. Without artificial coloring (for salmon). With strict prohibition of the use of anabolic, natural and synthetic hormones.

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".