As consumers continue to demand food that’s whole, real, and free of harmful chemicals (that’s not too much to ask for, right?), the presence of antibiotics in meat is one continuously concerning topic.
A new report shows that most chain restaurants are really dropping the ball when it comes to removing antibiotics from their meat. Consumer organizations Friends of the Earth, ConsumersUnion, the Center for Food Safety, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Keep Antibiotics Working, and the Food Animal Concerns Trust, banded together to check in on the 25 largest fast food and fast casual chains’ antibiotics usage. They then created a scorecard, assessing each restaurant’s commitment to phasing out antibiotics and their transparency on whether or not their supply contains it.
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Out of those 25 places (most of which you’ve probably eaten at before), only two received an A rating. “Panera and Chipotle are the only chains that publicly affirm that the majority of their meat and poultry offered is produced without routine use of antibiotics,” the report reads. Chick-fil-A got a B, and McDonald’s a C; both have policies to limit antibiotics and clear timelines of how they plan to implement them. Dunkin’ Donuts scored a C for at least having a policy, but fell short with no timeline in sight.
The rest of the chain restaurants, including KFC, Subway and Burger King, have failed to publicly disclose policies that restrict antibiotic use. Their report cards show a big, fat F.
Studies have shown that over-consuming antibiotics encourages antibiotic-resistant bacteria to grow. That’s how we get new strains of sicknesses, aka superbugs, that don’t respond as well to treatment. The report cites this fact from the CDC: “Each year, at least two million Americans contract antibiotic-resistant infections, and 23,000 die as a result.” Antibiotics in agriculture have been specifically linked to this effect, and according to the CDC, about half of the antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary. And this isn’t even touching on the effects the agriculture practice has on animals and the environment.
According to The Hill, the report was followed by a letter signed by 109 organizations, asking restaurant chains to publicly adopt better policies and hold their suppliers responsible for better standards.
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