Culture

Restaurant Report Card Reveals What's in Your Meat

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Do you know what is in the meat you eat? When we casually grab a bite to eat at a fast food chain, it is convenient to not think too much about exactly what we’re eating. But maybe we should.

A recent survey looked at the use of antibiotics in the meat served at popular fast food and “fast casual” restaurants. While there was improvement from previous years, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

First, it is important to understand why antibiotics are even present in meat, and why that’s a bad thing. CNN breaks it down for us:

“These drugs have historically been given to animals that are not sick, to accelerate weight gain and prevent disease in crowded and unsanitary industrial farming conditions,” wrote the authors, who come from six public interest groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union and the Center for Food Safety.

While regulations and consumer pressure have encouraged some chains to cut back on the use of antibiotics, some experts worry it’s not enough to stave off development of “superbugs” that can’t be killed by some of our current medicines. These bugs may get into our meat and produce.
“If we don’t rein in this pattern of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, what we will see is half a century of medical progress reversed,” said Lena Brook, a food policy advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She has served as a lead expert on the report for each of the past three years.
Despite the fact that antibiotics in our food could result in a major health crisis sooner than we would like to imagine, several food chains are doing little to nothing about it.
But first, the good news: Chipotle and Panera Bread both received A’s in the survey published by six public interest groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union and the Center for Food Safety. The reason these two restaurants scored so well is because their beef and pork, in addition to their poultry, are raised without antibiotics. Most of the other chains only focused on the antibiotics in their chicken.
More from CNN:
The credit for most improved goes to KFC, which jumped from an F last year to a B- after committing to phase “medically important” antibiotics out of its chicken supply by the end of 2018. Antibiotics are considered “medically important” for their use in humans, per the World Health Organization.
Subway earned a B+ for working to curtail antibiotics in poultry and meat. However, its plan to do the same with pork and beef was far off in the future in comparison, keeping it from an A.
Earnings Bs and Cs were Wendy’s, Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A. All have made moves to reduce antibiotics in their chicken.
McDonald’s also earned a C+, just like last year. The company updated its “Vision for Antibiotic Stewardship” policy in August, saying it planned to pare down unnecessary antibiotic use in all meats. However, the company failed to give a timeline for pork and beef, the new report said.
Unfortunately, 11 restaurants received F’s, including IHOP, Domino’s, and Arby’s. This is an improvement over the 16 that failed last year’s test. You can see all the grades on the chart posted by the Butte County Good Food Network Facebook page, and read more about the survey and antibiotics in food in the CNN article.

Facebook – Butte County Good Food Network