A new report published by Friends of the Earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council rated the top 25 fast food restaurants and “fast casual” restaurants on their antibiotic policies. In all, 14 restaurants scored zero points out of 36 and received an F grade, reports CNN.
The report found that most fast food restaurants do not source from suppliers that limit the use of antibiotics in livestock. Chipotle and Panera Bread were the only two restaurants that scored an A on the report card, while Chick-fil-A scored a B. Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s both scored Cs and Wendy’s, Burger King, Starbucks, Subway, Taco Bell, and Applebee’s, among many others, scored Fs.
According to the report, “70-80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in factory farms. This practice enables crowded, filthy conditions for animals and drives antibiotic resistance that threatens our health.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called antibiotic resistance a national public health threat: Each year, 2 million people become infected with antibiotic resistant infections and 23,000 die from them.
“When livestock producers administer antibiotics routinely to their flocks and herds, bacteria can develop resistance, thrive and even spread to our communities, contributing to the larger problem of antibiotic resistance,” the authors wrote in the report, which was released Tuesday. “The worsening epidemic of resistance means that antibiotics may not work when we need them most: when our kids contract a staph infection (MRSA), or our parents get a life-threatening pneumonia.”
Fast food restaurants like Panera Bread, which scored well on the report card, have responded to the threat. The chain bakery uses antibiotic-free ham, turkey, and chicken. Even McDonald’s, which scored a C, has started to take steps toward removing antibiotics. The mega-chain announced in March that it’s committed to serving chicken raised without the use of medically important antibiotics, and will cut antibiotics in chicken from U.S. supply chains within the next two years.
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