Hold the Antibiotics: Fast Food Chains Keep Antibiotics Out of Meat

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It’s a step in the right direction when McDonald’s and other franchises take a stand against serving meat from animals that have been treated with antibiotics, a practice that could contribute to making the drugs less effective for people.

More than 70 percent of antibiotics in the United States are fed to healthy farm animals to make them grow faster and prevent disease, according to Environmental Defense (ED). “Often these drugs compensate for the stressful, unsanitary conditions in many large animal-production facilities,” says ED scientist Becky Goldburg, Ph.D.


• Has established a policy requiring its direct poultry suppliers to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics as growth promoters by the end of 2004.

• Will give preference to indirect suppliers of beef and pork who curtail antibiotic use.

Good Times

• The Denver-based burger chain (thirty-four restaurants in Colorado, one in Idaho) uses all-natural Coleman beef.

• Coleman Natural Meats is the first U.S. beef company to receive the “natural” label from the USDA. It’s free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and other byproducts.

• Good Times is considering switching to chicken that is raised naturally as well.