Growing Resistance To Antibiotics: Meat Composition At Top Fast Food Chains

Report rates antibiotic policies of top 25 fast food chains and reveals concerning information about the ineffective use of drugs in meat production.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) have released a report about the risks of antibiotic use in the meat at large fast food chains. Subsequently, the Center for Food Safety teamed up with Friends of the Earth to create the report “Chain Reaction”, which scores antibiotic policies of U.S fast food chains using the A-F grading system.

Of the 25 major fast food franchises graded, only five received a grade higher than C: Chipotle Mexican Grill (A), Panera Bread (A), Chick-fil-A (B), Dunkin’ Donuts (C) and McDonalds (C). The remainder of the fast food restaurants evaluated were given the lowest grade (F). These businesses, which have incomplete or ineffective antibiotic policies, include Papa Johns, Ihop, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Applebees, among others.

Although antibiotics have been used for many years to treat diverse diseases, overuse of antibiotics produces resistance in both human and animal organisms. This happens when surviving bacteria multiplies and creates stronger microorganisms with evolved immunity to antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance prevails in slaughterhouses, given that a surviving strain of bacteria in one animal can infect the entire animal group.  Bacteria are then passed to humans through contaminated meat.

From a perspective of health and environmental safety, antibiotics should be used only rarely for specific treatments. Regardless, in mass food production, animals will be given more vaccinations and higher doses than necessary in order to increase meat production and prevent sickness. This excessive use creates ultra-resistant bacteria and propagates the associated illnesses.

According to the CDC, other methods of contamination include eating raw or undercooked foods, direct contact with animal stool or petting infected animals without taking the basic precaution of washing hands afterward.

In June 2015, a superbug by the name of MRSA – Methicillin Resistant Staphylococus Aureus – was discovered in sausages and minced pork sold in a multitude supermarkets across Great Britain. Veterinarian Mark Holmes of Cambridge University explained that pork slaughterhouses are infected this resulted in the contamination of the entire channel from livestock to distribution.

The use of antibiotics in the meat industry is not preventable, however, it is crucial that these medications are only utilized when absolutely necessary. The Food & Drug Administration is cooperating with food industries and licensed veterinarians to oversee meat production and educate farmers on disease treatment and prevention.

Subway, McDonalds and Wendy’s are three important international fast food franchises that have pledged to only buy meat from suppliers that are eliminating the excessive use of medications in their production systems.

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