Fast food is a big business and because of that, restaurants are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and boost productivity. One way fast-food chains do this is by using meat that has been pumped full of antibiotics. Unfortunately, overusing antibiotics on animals is not only bad for them but it’s bad for us too. Several US governing bodies monitor the fast-food restaurants on their use and policies regarding antibiotics in animals. With the reports, the restaurants get graded on a high school basis; A is good and F is very bad. Based on those reports we have put together 10 Fast Food Chains That Condone The Overuse Of Beef Antibiotics (By Policy).
10. Burger King – F
When many of us pop into our local fast food restaurant, the use, or overuse, of antibiotics in beef is probably one of the furthest things from our mind. After all, all we want at that moment is to gorge ourselves on some yummy burgers. However, maybe it shouldn’t be too far from our thoughts. The use of antibiotics in beef doesn’t sound that bad but it is actually extremely harmful, not just to the animal but to us as well. What happens is the ‘livestock’ is pumped full of antibiotics in order to prevent the animals from getting sick. Because these animals are healthy, the viruses and bacteria actually become resistant to the antibiotics, especially when they are overused, and these ‘super’ viruses can then be passed onto Humans. People dying from antibiotic-resistant viruses are actually on the increase and more and more are being affected each year. One way to stop this from rising is for restaurants to keep vigilante about where they get their meat from and how the animals are raised and treated. Many reports by several governing bodies now focus on that very thing and unfortunately, a lot of our favorite fast-food restaurants do not meet the standers they should be. Propping up the bottom of the lastest report that focuses on the overuse of antibiotics in beef, is Burger King. The fast-food giants don’t seem to have any policies in place with regards to sourcing their beef. Also, Burger King didn’t participate in any surveys and refused to answer any question about their beef policies. As much as we all love a Whopper, Burger King needs to improve this aspect of their brand ASAP.
9. Dairy Queen – F
While Dairy Queen may be known all over the world as serving the best ice cream around, as well as their truly awe-inspiring Blizzards, Dairy Queen also has an extensive menu that includes all manner of fast-food favorites. From burgers to hot dogs, and most things in between, Dairy Queen is a lot of people’s first choice when they want to eat something meaty and tasty. Because of the popularity of Dairy Queen’s meat products, it’s surprising to know that they are sitting way at the bottom of the list when it comes to beef that overuses antibiotics and policies they have in place. With a failing F grade, Dairy Queen didn’t actually allow the report to survey their beef sourcing policies and instead only showed information regarding chicken and pork, which was not the report in question. Furthermore, it seems that Dairy Queen, as with many other fast-food chains, actually uses a loophole within the FDA guidelines when it comes to meat. While the FDA has made the use of antibiotics illegal when making the animals grow, it has not yet banned them from using antibiotics in healthy animals to prevent them from getting sick. Many fast food and beef manufacturers are using this loophole as a way to get antibiotic beef into their stores and this is one of the main reasons that Dairy Queen failed this report.
8. Starbucks – F
Ok, we know what you are thinking; Starbucks isn’t a fast-food restaurant. And even if you could stretch the definition to include Starbucks in a list of fast-food chains, then they can’t use that much beef, can they? Well, no they actually don’t use that much beef. Certainly not compared to all the other fast-food chains in the world. However, Starbucks does sell products and food with beef as the main ingredient. Because of this, Starbucks was included in the report and is included on our list. The coffee giants got a failing F grade for their policies to do with antibiotic use in beef. The reason they got such a low grade is that they don’t have a policy at all. While Starbucks doesn’t buy that much beef or beef products, it still does and therefore should have policies in place to safeguard it’s customers when it comes to buying and sourcing beef. The fact that Starbucks doesn’t have a beef policy is even more surprising given that Starbucks has a policy for everything else, including buying and sourcing poultry. We’re hoping that Starbucks takes a good look at this report, and it’s grade and starts putting some new policies in place.
7. Panda Express – F
Since it first burst onto the fast-food scene back in the early 1980s, Panda Express quickly became one of the most popular Chinese restaurants across the country. With thousands of restaurants countrywide, most people will have visited a Panda Express and most people will already have a favorite dish from their mouth-watering menu. However, when it comes to their policy on beef, Panda Express is firmly at the bottom with a bad F grade. As they don’t seem to have any policy at all regarding the overuse of antibiotics in beef, Panda Express ended up at the bottom of the pile with a big ‘must try harder’ stamp to show for it. Incidentally, a lot of the food on Panda Express’s menu is chicken-based and they do have a policy for that. In fact, most fast-food restaurants have made huge strides when it comes to using antibiotics with chickens, and how chickens are kept in general. So much so that many fast-food chains don’t buy or source any chickens that have used antibiotics. It’s just as shame that they don’t have the same with beef. Hopefully, Panda Express will take note of this and strive to improve their policies with all food. But for now, the tasty Chinese food chain has a long way to go.
6. Taco Bell – D
Whether we like to admit it or not, we all love Tacho Bell. Come on, you know you do! The famous Tex-Mex restaurant has cornered the market in late-night snack food as we all pile into the car to grab a tasty burrito at 2 in the morning. Is there anything that can hit that spot better? We don’t think so either. It won’t be surprising to know that Taco Bell uses quite a lot of beef and, in particular, ground beef, on its menus. With their fan-favorite Burritos, Tacos, Nachos, and Quesarito, Taco Bell likes to pack a lot of meat into all its food. Because of this, a lot of people had eyes on Taco Bell and how it sources its popular beef. On the recent report that governing bodies released on how fast food restaurants use antibiotic infused beef, Taco Bell got a fairly respectable D. However, although the D grade is a lot better than most fast-food restaurants that were audited, the D grade was given mainly on their promise to reduce antibiotic beef, not on what they have already done. Taco Bell promised to reduce medically important antibiotics in beef by 25 percent by the year 2025. While this is a promising step forward from Taco Bell they don’t, at this present time, have any kind of generall policy regarding its meat and how they are sourced and in particular the use of antibiotics within the meat. We’re hoping that this is just the start for Taco Bell and they will build upon this grade.
5. Wendy’s – D+
While the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King may be a more famous and renowned burger fast-food brand, there is something special about Wendy’s. Sure, it may not be a worldwide name like the others, but Wendy’s holds a place in all American’s hearts that can’t be replaced with anything else. The ‘old fashioned’ burgers and style of food that Wendy’s provides, makes this a real ‘comfort food’ kind of place that brings joy to us all. Because of the image that Wendy’s has, it’s nice to see the fast-food queen receiving such a good grade with its policies on beef and the overuse of antibiotics. Receiving a D+, Wendy’s currently gets 30 percent of its beef from farmers that have cut the use of Tylosin and other medical antibiotics by over 20 percent. And Wendy’s vows to make more improvements in this area. Wendy’s was also the recipient of the ‘Biggest Wanna-Be’ superlative due to its efforts to change it’s beef policies as well as publicizing its changes to antibiotic use in beef. We hope that Wendy’s can keep this up and maybe next year they will be even higher up on the list.
4. Subway – C
Subway was at one stage the fastest growing franchise in the world. Starting out as a small idea to sell good sub sandwiches, Subway’s exploded as people rushed to create their own favorite sub sandwiches. Now Subway’s is one of the biggest and most successful fast-food chains in the world. It’s not surprising then that Subway is looking to improve its policies when it comes to buying and sourcing their ingredients. Back in 2015 Subway made a promise that it would source beef that is completely antibiotic-free by the year 2025. While it has yet to fulfill this promise, or even be on course to fulfill it, Subway has however updated its beef policy in order to be more realistic in sourcing better beef. Subway changed its policy to fit in more with WHO’s guidelines which concerns public health and wellbeing. For this Subway earnt a C on this report, which is not a bad grade. However, Subway still vows to keep its promise to use completely antibiotic-free beef by 2025 and will do everything it can to achieve it. Until then, Subway will continue to improve its policies while still giving customers the best and freshest ingredients.
3. McDonald’s – C
This one may be a big surprise to many people. We bet you were thinking that McDonald’s would be one of the worst if not the worst fast-food resturant? There is no denying that McDonald’s is one of the biggest names in the world of fast food. Not only that but they are actually one of the biggest buyers of beef in the entire country. Because of this, a lot of people look to McDonald’s as a company that should be setting the standards. However, those famous Golden Arches haven’t been doing well when it comes to their beef and using antibiotics. In last year’s report, McDonald’s was right at the bottom of the pile in the F category. This, however, seemed to make McDonald’s pull up those strippy socks and take a good hard look at themselves. That seems to have worked as McDonald’s find themselves climbing out of the F and way into the C category. The reason for their miraculous climb is to do with their new beef policy they have put in place. McDonald’s is promising to audit it’s beef suppliers in regard to how the animals are kept and the antibiotic usage. They also promise to share their findings with the public and give us all more information about the cows they source.
2. Panera Bread – A-
On our list of fast-food restaurants that condone the use of antibiotics in beef, we have seen a lot of our favorite places, with some of them not doing so well. As much as we love to wolf down our favorite fast food item, we would also love them to take a bit more responsibility when it comes to sourcing their ingredients. With that idea in mind, we turn next to a company that prides itself on being socially responsible. Ok, so we know that Panera Bread isn’t a typical fast food restaurant but they do still serve a lot of meat in their products and some of that is beef. While this famous bakery doesn’t buy as much beef as most of the other entries on our list, it still has a policy in place that ensures that what they buy is of good quality. The report showed that 100 percent of the beef that Panera sources are all pasture-raised, grass-fed, and grass-finished. Because of their foresight on putting policies into place regarding over antibiotic use in beef, Panera was awarded the ‘ Early Leaders’ superlative in appreciation for its early beef policies. This isn’t the first time Panera has been praised for its social conscience. In 2010 they operated a ‘pay what you can’ restaurant as well as using only free-range eggs and they are very proud of the fact that their menus contain no GMO’s or artificial flavors. No wonder Panera Bread got such a good grade on this report.
1. Chipotle – A
The Mexican grill restaurant came top of the poll by quite some way. A relative newcomer, compared to the other fast-food restaurants on our list, Chipotle has seen a big rise in popularity and expansion over the last couple of decades. Famous for its Mexican style Burritos and Taco’s, Chipotle uses a lot of ground beef and other meats on its menu. According to this year’s survey, the Mexican grill restaurant is on top of its beef suppliers and usage. In fact, Chipotle regularly conducts its own surveys and audits into its beef suppliers. This includes detailed reports from farmers about how much antibiotics they use and what kind. Plus regular farm inspections to see if the results are true. As of this year, Chipotle reports that about half of the beef they serve in the U.S comes from 100 percent grass-fed producers. It seems that Chipotle was ahead of this and as such was also awarded the ‘Early Leaders’ superlative. Chipotle continues to be on top of where its meat comes from and how it is kept. The rest of the fast-food industry looks to this Mexican grill as a bar setter.