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Scorecard Ranks Restaurant Chains for Antibiotics in Food Chain

A Boston-based chain, known for its "Official Burger of the Red Sox," gets high marks for keeping antibiotics out of the food chain. (Oleg Bolotov)
A Boston-based chain, known for its "Official Burger of the Red Sox," gets high marks for keeping antibiotics out of the food chain. (Oleg Bolotov)
October 2, 2017

BOSTON – A new nationwide report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund ranks the top 25 restaurant chains for their antibiotics policies and practices.

At issue is misuse of antibiotics in meat production, which experts say puts human health at risk by breeding drug-resistant bacteria.

Shelby Luce, an Antibiotics Fellow at the MassPIRG Education Fund, says for the third year in a row, Panera and Chipotle were the only two major chains to get an A grade, because they reject routine antibiotic use through their entire supply chain.

Further down the list is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Luce says KFC earned the "most improved" grade.

"Going from an F grade to a B-minus for its newly announced commitment to no longer serve chicken raised with medically-important antibiotics in its U.S. locations by 2018," she states.

According to the report, 14 restaurants have taken action this year to curb routine use of antibiotics in their supply chain, compared to nine last year.

Luce says her organization partnered with the maker of "The Official Burger of the Red Sox" because Tasty Burger has had a no-antibiotics policy from the very start.

Luce says the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization both warn widespread overuse of antibiotics is pushing us closer to a time when medicines could no longer work.

"Right now, 70 percent of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for use in animal agriculture, and fast food restaurants are some of the largest meat purchasers in the world,” she explains. “So, their policies can completely shift the meat industry, for the U.S. – and eventually, hopefully, globally."

The report says no new progress was made in reducing antibiotic use in beef and pork.

Luce says Massachusetts' own Dunkin Donuts moved up a grade to a D with its recent commitment to stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics by the end of 2018.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA