American Fast-Food Meat Still Often Raised on Antibiotics, Says Consumer Report

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Fast-Food MeatAccording to a new report titled “Chain Reaction: How top restaurants rate on reducing use of antibiotics in their meat supply,” health and consumer groups have found that the majority of large American fast-food restaurant chains still serve meat from animals regularly fed antibiotics. The consumer groups also concluded that most companies currently do not have plans to stop the practice of antibiotic use.

The report found that 20 of the top 25 restaurant chains received grades of “F” for their antibiotics policies. Among the leaders of poor antibiotic policy are Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, and Domino’s Pizza.

The grades from the study were based on survey responses, public statements, and correspondence with the individual restaurant chains. The consumer and health groups did not release the results to the companies prior to report publication. It is estimated that around 70% of all antibiotics are given to farm animals in the U.S.

Antibiotic overuse is associated with the increase of life-threatening human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is estimated that two million people die every year after being infected with drug-resistant bacteria.

Only Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, and Chick-fil-A have policies for antibiotic use for all the meat that is served. Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill received “A” grades, and the companies have strict antibiotic limits. Chick-fil-A received a “B” in the report, and they are making significant progress in only purchasing non-antibiotic chicken by 2019.

Finally, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s both received a grade of “C.” By 2017, McDonald’s is expected to serve only chicken raised without medically important antibiotics. Although Dunkin’ Donuts has not set a timetable, the company has adopted a good antibiotics use policy to prohibit suppliers from using medically vital antimicrobials or antibiotics in animals.

Sources for Today’s Article:
“Chain Reaction: How top restaurants rate on reducing use of antibiotics in their meat supply,” Friends of the Earth web site, September 15, 2015; http://www.foe.org/projects/food-and-technology/good-food-healthy-planet/chain-reaction.
Baertlein, L., “U.S. fast-food meat still mostly raised on antibiotics: consumer groups,” Reuters web site, September 15, 2015; http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/15/us-restaurants-antibiotics-idUSKCN0RF0AP20150915.
“Antibiotics Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site; http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/pdf/ar-threats-2013-508.pdf, last accessed September 15, 2015.

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