Food Safety

16 of 21 QSR Chains Flunk in Antibiotic Report

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Nov 05, 2019

Most major quick service restaurant chains got failing grades from a coalition of consumer advocacy groups when it comes to avoiding suppliers who dose beef cattle with antibiotics indiscriminately.

A report issued by the groups, including Consumer Reports, the National Resources Defense Council and the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, evaluated QSRs on their policies of seeking beef suppliers who don’t overdose cattle with antibiotics. Of the 21 QSR chains referenced, 16 got Fs for not having any antibiotic policies in place. These include hamburger chains like Burger King and Sonic, but also ones like Starbucks and Pizza Hut, where beef items are secondary.

The two top-scoring chains were Chipotle, with an A, and Panera Bread, with an A minus. These two have been at the top since the coalition started reporting on the issue five years ago. McDonald’s moved from an F last year to a C, based on a policy announced last year to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply.

Ranchers and feedlots often use antibiotics to increase resistance to disease, especially when cattle are held in crowded conditions. The problem is that their indiscriminate use may lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs.”