In light of the public health risks associated with increasing antibiotic resistance, activists in 60 countries are celebrating World Consumer Rights Day by calling on fast-food companies to get antibiotics "off the menu."
The worldwide actions, organized by the London-headquartered Consumers International (CI), call specifically on McDonald's, Subway, and KFC to make "global, time bound commitments to stop serving meat from animals routinely given antibiotics that are classed as important for human medicine by the World Health Organization."
As CI director general Amanda Long wrote Monday at the Huffington Post:
McDonald's has made such a commitment on chicken in USAIn February, a coalition of more than 50 public health, environmental, and consumer rights groups issued a similar demand to In-N-Out Burger, California's hamburger restaurant chain.
and Canada. The commitment does not extend to other types of meat
however, nor to other countries outside of North America. Subway has
committed to stop serving meat from any animal given antibiotics in the
USA. KFC has made no meaningful commitments anywhere.
Of course we would like to see other restaurant chains, as well as
meat suppliers and retailers, make global time bound commitments to stop
selling meat from animals routinely given antibiotics important for
human medicine. We are focusing on these three chains because they have
over 100,000 restaurants between them. It is about more than simple
buying power however, these are global household names with the ability
to influence markets even where they have fewer outlets.
A report (pdf) issued late last month by CI stated that: "Despite worldwide concern about the overuse of antibiotics, their use in agriculture is due to increase by two thirds by 2030: from 63,200 tons in 2010, to 105,600 tons in 2030."
This is cause for alarm because antibiotic resistant bacteria spreads from farms to people through air, soil, water, manure, and theconsumption of medicine-treated meat and animal products