In-N-Out Burger commits to antibiotic policy for beef

Hamburger chain will serve ‘beef that is not raised with antibiotics important to human medicine’

In-N-Out Burger has committed to serving “beef that is not raised with antibiotics important to human medicine.”

The fast food chain made the statement in response to a Reuters reporter’s question regarding a letter by more than 50 public interest groups pressing the company to stop serving beef raised with routine antibiotics. Groups leading this campaign include CALPIRG Education Fund, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union, author and activist Vani Hari, and the Antibiotics Resistance Action Center.

In-N-Out’s most recent statement appears to be significantly stronger than an earlier statement the company made in correspondence with those groups.

In a letter sent late last week, the coalition asked the company to clarify its antibiotics policy by publishing it on their website, including a clear timeline with key benchmarks for progress. The groups also asked the company to adopt a third-party audit to independently verify that the company is making progress toward phasing out routine antibiotics use from its meat supply chain.

In response to other fast chain restaurants’ policies on antibiotics, livestock producers have maintained that they need antibiotics to treat sick animals.

“Our groups have emphasized to In-N-Out Burger that its policy should allow its producers to treat sick animals with antibiotics when diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian,” said Rebecca Spector, west coast director with Center for Food Safety.

Recently, sandwich restaurant chain Subway took a step closer toward its new policy of selling only meat from animals raised without antibiotics at its U.S. restaurants, as it introduced the the Rotisserie-Style Chicken Sandwich, which was made available on March 1.

Subway in October revealed its new antibiotics policy that stated that all of its chicken, turkey, pork and beef would only come from animals raised without antibiotics of any sort. The company stated that it would convert its entire supply of chicken to antibiotic-free by the end of 2016, while it would completely switch to antibiotic-free turkey by 2018 or 2019. Its pork and beef supply will come exclusively from animals never treated with antibiotics by 2025.

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