A group of public interest organizations has recently released its second annual report – a report that exposes many fast food industry giants for the frauds that they are. Joined by their environmental, consumer and health concerns, the groups banded together to grade the 25 largest fast food and restaurant chains in the United States. What they found, of course, was rather disappointing.
The aim of the group’s efforts was to evaluate the companies’ policies for phasing out antibiotic use in their beef, pork, chicken and turkey products. The scorecard used for their research graded the restaurants after direct surveying was completed, and their websites and annual reports were examined. This year, twice as many restaurants scored passing grades, which sounds great. Unfortunately, it means that only nine restaurant groups actually passed; the remaining 16 chains failed miserably.
Sasha Stashwick, a senior food and agriculture advocate from the National Resources Defense Council says: “Top restaurant chains, some of the largest buyers of meat, are now on notice that their customers and investors care about this issue and will hold them accountable for antibiotics use policies and practices in their meat supply chains.” She also notes that continuing to lag behind competitors and failing to take action on this very important issue will make companies stand out – and not in a good way.
Antibiotic use in livestock is a huge contributor to the ongoing problem of antibiotic resistance. In fact, according to the UK’S Daily Mail, 70 percent of all antibiotics are used on animals in the food industry, rather than being administered to people. Drug-resistant bacteria currently kill about 700,000 people each year, but that number will continue to grow if we aren’t careful. New estimates suggest that the number could skyrocket to 10 million deaths each year if our efforts to combat antibiotic resistance continue to fail. Along with excessive over-prescription, the use of antibiotics in livestock is a huge factor in the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Let’s all just stick to natural, organic foods that aren’t pumped full of toxins. Maybe we could just try that instead.