Multiple fast food groups as well as restaurant chains are contributing to the alarming threat of antibiotic resistance, according to a threat released by advocacy groups,
The World Health Organization defines the development of bacteria that can’t be killed by some of our urrent medicines “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.
“Fifteen of America’s favorites received an “F” for their lack of action in reducing the use of beef raised with antibiotics, including Burger King, DQ, Jack In the Box, Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, Chili’s, Sonic, Applebee’s and the pizza chains of Domino’s, Little Caesars and Pizza Hut.Only Chipotle and Panera Bread, who were early leaders in using only antibiotic-free beef and chicken, received an “A.”
Antibiotics are given to animals to keep them healthy while they gain weight prior to being slaughtered.
Almost two-thirds of medically important antibiotics sold in the US go to food animals. But when antibiotics are overused, some bacteria learn to survive, multiply and share their resistance genes with other bacteria, even if those have not been exposed.
The “superbugs” then enter our system when we eat under cooked meat or veggies that have been exposed to irrigation water contaminated with animal waste.
Despite the issue, the U.S. lacks appropriate laws to regulate overuse of antibiotics in our food chain. As a response, advocacy groups have turned to the biggest buyers of raw beef and chicken (restaurants) and requested them to use their purchasing power to force change.
In the past five years, the reduction of chicken raised with antibiotics is growing according to director of food campaigns for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Lena Brook.
Consumer Reports as well as the Milken Institute School for Public Health and the Center for Food Safety who also sponsored the study. And according to the report, 90% of the chickens raised last year received no medically important antibiotics compared to 2014, when “nearly half of the nine billion broiler chickens produced in the US annually were raised on a full array of antibiotics, including medically important drugs,” the report revealed.
When it comes to consumers, that means antibiotic-free chicken is served in 13 of the 25 restaurants including Chick-fil-A, KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s.
The report also shared how the early onset push of Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread, followed by Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s and Subway, inspired many major chicken supply companies to follow suit.
“In spring of 2015 Perdue and then Tyson made a really big splash when they committed to limiting antibiotic use in their chicken suppliers and they’re two of the five largest chicken companies in the country,” Brook said. “So now we’re looking for that kind of shift in the beef industry.”