600 Health Professionals Urge More Major Restaurant Chains to Get Smart and Serve Meat Raised Without Antibiotics

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94 Health Professionals from Massachusetts

MASSPIRG Education Fund

Boston- Antibiotics are failing when doctors, nurses, and other health professionals need them most. Major restaurants can help save these lifesaving antibiotics by pushing suppliers to stop overusing them, as McDonald’s and Subway committed to do this year. That’s why almost 600  health professionals  – including 94 from Massachusetts – signed onto a letter urging more major restaurant chains to serve only meat not raised on routine antibiotics.

Roughly 70% of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used to raise livestock including poultry, often given daily to animals that aren’t sick to promote growth or prevent disease brought on by unsanitary conditions. That overuse gives antibiotic resistant bacteria an opportunity to multiply, eventually spreading off the farms and into our communities via contaminated food, direct human to animal contact, or environmental sources like soil, air, and water[1].

“The public health threat is so critical that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated this week ‘Get Smart on Antibiotics Week’.  Massachusetts health professionals want more major restaurant chains to tell their meat suppliers to get smart and stop overusing antibiotics,” said Deirdre Cummings, Consumer Program Director with MASSPIRG.

Antibiotic resistant infections kill 23,000 Americans a year, and sicken millions more.

Members of the medical community are concerned by the unnecessary and indiscriminate use of antibiotics on factory farms:

–       In a recent poll released by MASSPIRG Education Fund and Consumer Reports, 93 percent of doctors said they were concerned about the practice of using antibiotics on healthy animals for growth promotion and disease prevention.

–       The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report on November 16th that highlights the dangers to kids from overusing antibiotics in raising livestock and poultry.

–       MASSPIRG, along with USPIRG, the federation of state PIRGS, has helped build a coalition of doctors and other members of the medical community, community groups and consumers committed to ending the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture.

Chipotle, Panera Bread, Chik-fil-A, Noodles & Co, Elevation Burger, McDonald’s on chicken, Subway, and others have made commitments to serve meat raised without antibiotics.

“The marketplace is moving in the right direction, but even more restaurants need to act to shift the meat industry away from abusing the antibiotics that health professionals rely on to save lives,” concluded Cummings.

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MASSPIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being. www.masspirgedfund.org  


[1] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2015/world-antibiotic-awareness-we…