The fast food chain intends to source chicken raised without medically important antibiotics by 2017 and is considering doing the same with pork and beef.
You know the world is changing when fast food restaurants commit to improving the quality of the food they serve. In the spring of 2015, Tyson, the nation’s largest chicken producer, vowed to stop feeding its chickens antibiotics by 2017. The sandwich chain Subway also said it would go completely antibiotics-free within three years. Then, McDonald’s made the same commitment months later.
The establishments are making these changes due to the growing concern worldwide over the looming threat of antimicrobial resistance. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance could potentially kill as many as 10 million people by 2050. This would make it an even bigger threat to human health than cancer.
70% of antibiotics important to human health are sold for use in meat and dairy production. If agricultural producers were to raise livestock intended for slaughter in sanitary, humane conditions, antibiotics wouldn’t need to be relied upon as heavily. Allowing animals to grow at their natural rates, as well, would reduce the demand for antibiotics in the livestock business.
Because the threat of antibiotic resistance is one every individual and business should take seriously, the popular franchise Wendy’s recently declared that it will source chicken from suppliers that are working to eliminate all antibiotics vital to human health by 2017. Fortune relays that as of June 2016, 50% of the chicken supplied to the chain was raised without medically important antibiotics. By 2017, that amount will increase to 100%.
Considering that Wendy’s purchases more than 250 million pounds of chicken annually, this is a newsworthy ambition. Of course, when Wendy’s began testing antibiotic-free chicken last year, the fast food chain still received a grade of “F” on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s antibiotics policy report card, relays The Consumerist. This is because the company lacked a timeline or firm policy of reducing the use of the drugs.
This go-around, the chain is intent on sourcing chicken that has been raised without medically important antibiotics. Wendy’s is also considering eliminating antibiotics from the beef and pork it sources. Finally, the fast food chain is working with academics and industry experts on work that includes trials for probiotics, vaccines, feed supplements, and nutrition composition, according to Natural Society.
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