With the kale craze, gluten-free fad and organic orgy that’s been sweeping the nation, one might think fast food chains would start to catch on. Sure, several chains have attempted to market “healthy” options to consumers, but a low-calorie meal does not necessarily equate a high-quality one. According to a report released by consumer groups, the majority of fast food and fast casual giants either fail to disclose information about the use of antibiotics in their food, or their antibiotic policies are a failure in and of themselves.
The report graded fast food chains for their use (or lack thereof) of antibiotics in their food. Only Chipotle and Panera were able to slick by with an “A” grade. However, the sad fact remains that many of the chains that received an “F” are significantly more widespread than both Chipotle and Panera combined.
Starbucks, Subway, and KFC all received an “F” grade, though this does not exactly mean that antibiotics are in everything the chains sell. Companies who declined to state their policy on antibiotics in food also received a failing grade – Olive Garden was one such chain.
Senior program manager for Friends of the Earth, Kari Hamerschlag, had this to say on the matter: “From bacon cheeseburgers to chicken nuggets, most meat served by America’s chain restaurants comes from animals raised in industrial-scale facilities, where they are routinely fed antibiotics to prevent disease that is easily spread in crowded, unsanitary, stressful conditions.” This problem creates a sort of cyclical paradox: animals are fed antibiotics to prevent disease that occurs as a result of being in such close proximity of one another, but being in close proximity of one another is a primary way to cut costs in the fast food industry. Where do these companies begin?
According to McDonald‘s website, the use of antibiotics important for human medicine in chicken production will stop by March of 2017. The operative phrase in that statement is “important for human medicine,” which implies that use of all antibiotics in their food will not cease by that point in time. Is that soon enough for consumers to turn a blind eye and carry on with their nuggets? The consumer reports gave McDonald’s a “C,” along with Dunkin’ Donuts. Only time will tell.