Why Fast Food Industry Antibiotics May Be A Bigger Problem Than You Thought


By Aimee Lamoureux, Mashed

July 15, 2021


Recent global health studies have some troubling news: Antibiotic resistance is one of biggest growing health crises in the world. While it has been an increasing problem for a while now, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the issue, as the high usage of antibiotics to treat the SARS-CoV-2 virus has led to an increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance, as Harvard reported.


However, it turns out one of the biggest contributors to antibiotic resistance is not medical drugs, but antibiotics that are used on animals being raised for food. And the fast food industry's beef supply chain is one of the worst offenders. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, which publishes an annual Chain Reaction report surveying the antibiotic use in animals raised for consumption and used by restaurants, almost two-thirds of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used on food animals, which leads to worsening antibiotic overuse and increases the risk that harmful microbes will change and develop resistance to antibiotics, making them less effective and potentially leading to the creation of drug-resistant superbugs.


"When top restaurant chains voluntarily commit to ending the routine use of antibiotics in their supply networks, they can ignite broader change in practices across the meat industry," the NRDF explained in its Chain Reaction report. "Ending routine antibiotics use can help slow the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and keep these critical medicines working to treat infections in people and animals."


Fast food chains contribute to antibiotic resistance by using the drugs in their meat supply ...