Fast food chains that are STILL serving you antibiotic-stuffed meat after Chic-fil-A U-turn – and what it means for YOUR health

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • The move by Chick-fil-A reverses an earlier pledge to eliminate use of antibiotics
  • It’s one of several fast food chains that still use antibiotics in their meat products 
  • READ MORE: Drug resistant bacteria found of the surface of grocery store meat

A staggering number of popular fast food chains still use antibiotics in their meat –  including major fast food joint Chick-fil-A, who announced it will reverse a promise to remove the medicines from its chicken.

The restaurant franchise will use meat treated with antibiotics from next month, citing a lower supply of chicken for its u-turn.

But it is far from the only popular chain to sell products containing traces of the drugs – which contributes to the global threat of antibiotic resistance. 

Responsible for millions of deaths worldwide every year, antibiotic resistance describes the process by which common bacteria evolve to become unaffected by antibiotic drugs used to kill them. 

It means bugs on meat that cause food poisoning, like salmonella and campylobacter, may become indestructible.

DailyMail.com has identified several chains that still use meat raised with antibiotics include Burger King, Starbucks, Jack in the Box and Dairy Queen.

Chick-fil-A had previously promised to phase out the use of antibiotics, but, citing a supply issue, decided to drop that pledge in favor of a narrower one to use antibiotics seldom used by humans

A Consumer Reports survey found that a long list of fast food chains use meat, primarily beef, treated with antibiotics. The use of antibiotics in livestock can contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

A Consumer Reports survey found that a long list of fast food chains use meat, primarily beef, treated with antibiotics. The use of antibiotics in livestock can contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Antibiotics are highly effective in treating infections in animals that are to be slaughtered for food.

Livestock typically undergo a withdrawal period of a few days before they’re slaughtered to reduce the amount of medicine seeping into the meat that people eat.

While there is no immediate, direct harm from consuming meat treated with antibiotics, doing so could help promote drug-resistant bacteria.

This makes it much more difficult for medicines to eliminate bacterial infections – and could mean that a simple case of food poisoning becomes deadly.

A previous FDA analysis of animal feed found that of the 30 antibiotics used in different kinds, 18 of them posed a high risk of exposing humans to antibiotic-resistant bacteria through food.

Meanwhile, the CDC estimates that 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur every year in the US.

 About 660,000 of those are caused by resistant forms of salmonella and campylobacter, two bacteria commonly spread by animals slaughtered for food.

The global public health community, including organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), identifies antibiotic-resistant bacteria as one of the most significant threats to public health worldwide.

According to the CDC, at least 35,000 people in the United States die each year from infections that are resistant to antibiotics. However, other estimates suggest that this number could be much higher, potentially exceeding 160,000 deaths annually.

Chick-fil-A said that they serve ‘only real, white breast meat with no added fillers, artificial preservatives, or steroids. 

Like other chicken in the United States, ours ‘contains no added hormones.’

Other food chains have pledged to reduce the amount of antibiotics in their meat supply. 

Taco Bell, for instance, is aiming for a reduction of 30 percent by 2030.

In a report by Consumer Reports, the Natural Resources Defense Council graded Taco Bell, IHOP, and Applebees’ efforts to reduce medically important antibiotic use in their meat supply chains as’ D’ for antibiotics in beef.

The report said: ‘As some of America’s largest meat buyers, fast food restaurants can and should act to preserve our life-saving medicines for the future by requiring their meat suppliers to adopt responsible antibiotic use practices.

‘About a quarter of all medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are intended for use in cattle production, which along with swine, account for over half of all U.S. antibiotic sales.

Burger King, Starbucks, Olive Garden, Panda Express, Little Caesars, Dominos, Sonic, Arbys, Jack in the Box, Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Pizza Hut all scored ‘F’ grades.

Chick-fil-A is not the only restaurant chain to have backtracked on its pledge to eliminate antibiotics from its meat. 

Tyson foods, which processes about 20 percent of all chicken in the US, dropped its ‘no antibiotics ever’ promise last July.

The Arkansas-based company had previously become the largest poultry processor to eliminate the use of all antibiotics in its company-branded nuggets, wings, and breasts.

Burger King

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