The big fast-food giants such McDonald’s and Burger King have been touting their plans to curb the use of antibiotics in their meat supply. But according to a new report, a majority of them have been failing miserably at implementing those policies, especially when it comes to beef.
The giants along with 21 other top burger chains either failed or got a D-minus on a new antibiotic report card report released by the non-profit environmental advocacy group Natural Resource Defense Council, which collaborated with other top watchdog groups, including Consumer Reports and the Center for Food Safety to conduct the report.
Among the entire 25 top U.S. burger chains graded, only two chains — Shake Shack and BurgerFi — came out as winners, both receiving an A. Wendy’s received a D-minus while the other 20 chains all failed.
The lead researcher of the report and interim director of the food and agriculture program at the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council, Lena Brook, said, “Many companies have committed to ending or restricting the use of medically important drugs in chicken supply chains. Unfortunately, when it comes to beef and pork, we’ve seen little in the way of meaningful change.”
Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said the essence of the report is to shine a spotlight on antibiotics policies and practices surrounding the beef industry, which is depleting the country’s supply and causing humans to become resistant to it over time, which may lead to serious health risks.
She said, “There is a lot of work to be done. After all the attention that has been drawn to the growing antibiotic crisis, we were disappointed to see that most restaurant chains had not taken any steps to reduce the use of antibiotics used to produce the beef they serve. That is especially worrisome given that the beef sector is the biggest buyer of antibiotics in the U.S., responsible for 43 percent of the sales of medically-important antibiotics for livestock.”
“When top restaurant chains voluntarily commit to ending the routine use of antibiotics in their supply networks, they can ignite broader change in practices across the meat industry. Ending routine antibiotics use can help slow the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and keep these critical medicines working to treat infections in humans and animals,” Brook said.