Subway has just announced that it will transition to meat from animals raised free of antibiotics over the next 10 years to its 27,000-plus U.S. locations. Advocacy groups had targeted the restaurant and planned to deliver a petition to Subwayâs headquarters. In the summer, Subway had announced their plan to switch to chicken from animals never exposed to antibiotics that were not medically important.
The new announcement means Subway will only serve chicken without antibiotics beginning in March 2016. Antibiotic-free turkey will also be introduced in 2016, and Subway expects to complete the turkey transition in all of its restaurants in the next two to three years. The transition to antibiotic-free beef and pork will be completed by 2025.
Subway had also previously announced that it would remove preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors from its cookies, soups, salads, and sandwiches by the end of 2017 in its North American locations.
âTodayâs consumer is ever more mindful of what they are eating, and weâve been making changes to address what they are looking for,â stated the executive vice president of Subwayâs Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC) Dennis Clabby. âA change like this will take some time, particularly since the supply of beef raised without antibiotics in the U.S. is extremely limited and cattle take significantly longer to raise. But, we are working diligently with our suppliers to make it happen.â
âWe hope that this commitment will encourage other companies in our industry to follow our lead, and that together, this will drive suppliers to move faster to make these important changes for consumers,â Clabby adds.
Several advocacy groups had campaigned to urge Subway to only buy meat without antibiotics with a timeline for a transition, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, health food blogger Vani Hari, and Friends of the Earth.
âWe thought Subway was the most important one to target publicly because they claim to be this healthy fast-food restaurant chain,â explained Kari Hamerschlag, a representative for Friends of the Earth.
In a report titled âChain Reaction: How top restaurants rate on reducing use of antibiotics in their meat supply,â which was published by Friends of the Earth in September, Subway was among the top 25 restaurant chains to receive an âFâ grade for their antibiotics policies.
In the report, Subway had stated that the company had been, âtargeting to transition to chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine in 2016.â At the time Subway had been awarded partial credit for a good policy; however, the chain received less credit for its commitment, timetable, and lack of clarity regarding its antibiotics policies.
Other restaurants in the U.S. that offer meat without hormones and antibiotics include Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., which received a grade of an âAâ in the Friends of the Earth report for strict antibiotic policies.
McDonaldâs Corporation is another restaurant that has decided to make the switch to some antibiotic-free meats. For instance, the popular hamburger place plans to shift to purchasing only antibiotic-free chicken within the next two years. The fast food restaurant chain is currently offering its first 100% organic beef hamburger in Germany for a limited time from October 1 to November 18.
Sources for Todayâs Article:
âSubway Restaurants Elevates Current Antibiotics-Free Policy U.S. Restaurants Will Only Serve Animal Proteins That Have Never Been Treated With Antibiotics,â Subway web site, October 20, 2015; http://www.subway.com/subwayroot/about_us/PR_Docs/AntibioticFreeRelease10.20.15.pdf.
âSubway to eliminate antibiotics from all meat over next 10 years,â Fox News web site, October 21, 2015; http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/10/21/subway-to-eliminate-antibiotics-from-all-meat-over-next-10-years/.
âSubway promising meat raised without antibiotics,â The Hamilton Spectator web site, October 21, 2015; http://www.thespec.com/news-story/5969827-subway-promising-meat-raised-without-antibiotics/.
âChain Reaction: How top restaurants rate on reducing use of antibiotics in their meat supply,â Friends of the Earth web site, September 15, 2015; http://www.foe.org/projects/food-and-technology/good-food-healthy-planet/chain-reaction.