The prevalence of antibiotics in our meat is one of the most pressing issues facing the food industry today. The more we flood our systems with antibiotics by testing them on livestock, the more likely we are to create superbugs that are resistant to their medical use. A recent report called “Chain Reaction II” — a follow-up to last year’s “Chain Reaction” — shines the spotlight on fast-food chains that still cling to these dangerous antibiotics policies.
The report’s results are grim but improving. Last year, all but five of the 25 major fast-food chains did not receive passing scores: Panera Bread (A), Chipotle Mexican Grill (A), Chick-fil-A (B), McDonald’s (C), and Dunkin’ Donuts (C). This year, nine chains passed, adding Subway (B), Wendy’s (C), Taco Bell (C-), Pizza Hut (D+), and Papa John’s (D) to the list of restaurants concerned for their impact on antibiotics-resistance. By 2017, all chicken sold at Panera, McDonald’s, Subway, and Chick-fil-A will be 100 percent antibiotic-free.
The chains that received failing scores this year were: Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Denny’s, Starbucks, Olive Garden, Burger King, Applebee’s, Domino’s, Chili’s, Little Caesars, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dairy Queen, Arby’s, and IHOP.
“If you’re a consumer who buys fast food and wants to help fight antibiotic resistance, you could start by ordering chicken at those four restaurants,” said Jean Halloran, the director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, the non-profit arm of Consumer Reports that administered the study. “But still, we’d like to see more restaurants serving 'no antibiotic' chicken and also 'no antibiotic' beef and pork.”
Though Chipotle has always had a strict antibiotic-free policy, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Panera, among other chains, only recently announced their commitment to antibiotic-free meat.