22 Burger Chains Graded F on Antibiotics

A new report gives a failing grade to 22 of 25 burger chain restaurants relating to the use of antibiotics in their beef supply. ( Freeimages.com )

The fourth annual Chain Reaction report and scorecard gives a failing grade to 22 of 25 burger chain restaurants relating to the use of antibiotics in their beef supply.

Chain Reaction IV, released Wednesday, gives a D- to Wendy’s and Fs to 22 other chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Sonic, Five Guys and Carl’s Jr. for continuing to use beef raised with antibiotics in ways that make them less effective on humans. Only two As were earned by Shake Shack and BurgerFi.

Burger Chain scorecard

The annual Chain Reaction report is based on surveys conducted by a coalition of five consumer groups: U.S. PIRG (public interest research group), Consumer Reports, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety and Food Animal Concerns Trust.

The consumer groups claim the overuse of antibiotics by livestock producers contributes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can cause life-threatening infections in humans.

“We need our life-saving medicines to work, and because fast food companies are some of the largest buyers of meat, they are uniquely positioned to address this public health crisis,” the report said.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drug-resistant superbugs kill about 23,000 people in the U.S. each year, and increase healthcare costs by $20 billion annually.

However, the CDC does not lay all that blame for antibiotic-resistance on the use of antibiotics in livestock production. The CDC says about 1 in 5 drug-resistant infections in humans comes from food animals, but that 1 in 3 prescriptions for humans by physicians are unnecessary.

The focus of this year’s Chain Reaction report on burgers is in response to the success consumer groups have had on changing production practices for poultry. Over the past decade, that pressure from consumer groups has led to most poultry companies raising flocks without the routine use of antibiotics.

The beef and pork industries have stopped using antibiotics as growth promotants, but resist further limits.

“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 Assn. (NCBA) says. “In addition, the beef community has invested significantly in research and education programs like Beef Quality Assurance to maintain high standards of animal care and health.”

Chain Reaction authors noted they will focus on McDonald’s in their efforts to curtail antibiotic use in food animals. As America’s largest purchaser of beef, Chain Reaction authors say McDonald’s “should commit to sourcing beef from producers that use antibiotics under the guidance of a licensed veterinarian, and only to treat animals diagnosed with an illness or in limited circumstances to control a verified disease outbreak.”

Submitted by bob on Wed, 10/24/2018 - 17:30

I am highly skeptical of this study. First how would antibiotic resistant bacteria make it through cooking? Did they actually test the content of the burger for antibiotics? No, I read their article and study. It linked to another study and another and another and the bottom line is it is all theory that the industry has caused antibiotic resistance. Finally I am a cyclist. A few years back a Top cyclist in Europe was caught with alot of clenbuterol in his system. He said it must have been from the steak he ate and the authorities accepted that excuse. Meanwhile the meat was traced to a farm where raceshorses(which legally use clen) were being raised along with a few cattle. The authorities tested meat from the farm that had been sold to stores and it all tested negative as well as the cattle on the farm.
However they did find high levels of clenbuterol in the water tanks. Now whether that came from groundwater or backwash from the racehorses was never explained.
In Los Angeles they have found anti depressants in the tap water because people flush the drugs down the toilet and then the water is recycled through the water treatment plant which does not remove the drugs.

Submitted by Steve on Fri, 10/26/2018 - 07:54

How do we know that the beef testing positive for antibiotic residue is even from the ranches in the USA. Beef is coming from other countries where we have no control over how it is raised from birth to slaughter, and is being stamped Product of US. We have been subjected to things like the new VFD, to control the use of antibiotics, but other countries in the new NAFTA agreement do not have the same guidelines and restrictions we do. I’ve been told don’t drink the water from those countries, but it’s fine to eat the products from those countries. Everything thing I purchase I look at where it’s made, this is from experience. Everything from tires to tools and even toys for my children, but I’m not allowed to know where the beef my family and I eat comes from! We are tired of having inferior products and food forced upon us!