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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Many fast-food restaurants fail ‘report card’ on antibiotics.

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Author Topic: Many fast-food restaurants fail ‘report card’ on antibiotics.
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Many fast food restaurants, including Burger King, received failing grades in a report over the use of antibiotics in cattle and poultry. The report says too many antibiotics can cause bacteria to develop drug resistance.

The vast majority of the top 25 burger chains received outright failing grades in a report that evaluated their policies for using antibiotics on beef.

The report, called Chain Reaction IV: Burger Edition, is compiled every year as a collaboration between several groups, including Consumer Reports, the Center for Food Safety and others.

“The growth and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a global health crisis, threatening to create a future in which common infections could once again become life-threatening on a large scale,” the report says.

“The overuse of antibiotics in livestock production significantly contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The more antibiotics are used, the more bacteria become immune to them. More than 70 percent of the medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. go to food animals.”

Drug-resistant bacteria were called “one of the biggest public health challenges of our time” by the Centers for Disease Control, with about 2 million people catching a drug-resistant infection each year. Thousands die from the infections.

“Resistant bacteria in food can cause infections in humans. Like in humans, giving antibiotics to food animals will kill most bacteria, but resistant bacteria can survive.
When food animals are slaughtered and processed, resistant germs in the animal gut can contaminate the meat or other animal products,” the CDC says.

From there, the bacteria spread through the environment until they don’t respond to drugs anymore.

The report ranked fast-food chains based on their policies regarding antibiotics in their meat supply chain. Many of the restaurant chains have no policy whatsoever, leading to their low grade, according to the report.

Out of the 25 burger chains evaluated, only two scored an “A” rating — BurgerFI and Shake Shack. Wendy’s received a “D-,” and all the others failed.

The report says that many companies have made strides in reducing antibiotic use in poultry, but beef is lagging dangerously behind.

“Many companies have committed to ending or restricting the use of medically important drugs in chicken supply chains. Unfortunately, when it comes to beef and pork, we’ve seen little in the way of meaningful change,” said Lena Brook, lead researcher of the report and an official at the Natural Resources Defense Council, according to Fox Business.

She said it’s reasonable for antibiotics to be used for sick animals, but that there are times when the drugs are given to “ promote faster growth or for the so-called disease prevention purpose,” according to CNN.

Some restaurants, like McDonalds and In-N-Out Burger, have announced their intent to change their policy but have yet to meaningfully follow through, according to the report. Others offer options but need to expand them to the entire menu, the authors of the report say.

Wendy’s received a higher grade than the others because they took steps to phase out a major antibiotic called tylosin by 20 percent.

Some industry representatives defended their efforts in curbing antibiotic use.

“The beef industry promotes the judicious use of antibiotics to keep potential risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria extremely low,” the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said, according to the LA Times.

“Engaging farmers, producers and veterinarians in the responsible use of antibiotics is key to achieving our vision of preserving antibiotic effectiveness for both humans and animals,” McDonalds states in a written policy, according to the paper.

Jean Halloran of Consumer Reports said in an ideal world animals would not be given any antibiotics unless they became ill, according to the site.

“But at a bare minimum, medically important antibiotics—drugs used to treat people, such as amoxicillin, erythromycin, and tetracycline—should never be used for routine disease prevention in animals,” she said.


Everything I say is just my opinion!

Posts: 3529 | From Massachusetts Boston Area | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Thanks, Steve.

The Miami Herald often does really good & important investigative reporting. Glad to see this in a major paper with such esteem.

Posts: 47584 | From Tranquil Tree House in my dreams | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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