Monday, October 22, 2018

In-N-Out, Five Guys and more flunk antibiotics report card

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2018 at 8:52 AM

  • Peter Hermes Furian/
Nearly every big-name burger chain in America lacks any public policy for sourcing beef produced with restrictions on antibiotic use, according to this report, recently released by a coalition that includes environmentalist nonprofit the National Resources Defense Council.

Let's break that down a little. Antibiotics are very effective for treating bacterial diseases and infections. But some livestock producers will give antibiotics to healthy animals, "either to promote faster growth or to prevent disease caused by factory farm production practices," according to the report. Keeping a cow healthy seems like a good thing. But using antibiotics when they aren't needed leads to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The report cites World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention platforms that 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."

So yeah, the stakes are high when the steaks are medicated unnecessarily. And of the 25 burger chains graded in the above report, 22 received F grades. That means they have no public policies for sourcing beef raised without medically important antibiotics. F-grade holders include higher-end joints like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Smashburger, Texas' favored sons Whataburger and even California's golden cow itself, In-N-Out Burger.

The report blasts In-N-Out in particular, because in 2016, spokespeople claimed the company would start sourcing beef raised with responsible antibiotic use.

"However," says the report, "more than two years later, In-N-Out Burger has not publicly reported progress on formalizing an antibiotics policy, establishing a timeframe for ending routine uses, or identifying third-party auditors. In-N-Out Burger has also failed to answer thousands of consumer letters pressing the company for more information on its antibiotics policies and/or respond to requests for information by this report’s authors." Fingers crossed that'll change before the chain comes to the Springs in a few years.

Only two chains, New York-based Shake Shack and Florida-based Burger Fi, received A grades for sourcing antibiotic-free beef. Wendy's received a D-minus — the report says the company promised to source 15 percent of its beef from producers that use 20 percent less of one particular antibiotic, a move the company undertook in 2018.

Check out the report here for more information, including a full scorecard and how the authors of the report scored the companies involved.

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