In-N-Out Commits To Phasing Out Routine Use of Antibiotics From Beef Supply Chain

In-N-Out Commits To Phasing Out Routine Use of Antibiotics From Beef Supply Chain

One

more fast food company will reduce the amount of antibiotics in its burgers.

In-N-Out Burger recently announced it will eliminate antibiotics important to

human medicine from its beef supply chain.

"Our

company is committed to beef that is not raised with antibiotics important to

human medicine and we've asked our suppliers to accelerate their progress

towards establishing antibiotic alternatives," Keith Brazeau, vice president of

quality for Irvine, California-based In-N-Out Burger told Reuters.

"In-N-Out's

recent statement committing to eliminate medically important antibiotics from

its beef production is a dramatic and welcomed departure from the company's

earlier stance," Kari Hamerschlag, Senior Program Manager, Food and Technology

Program told Naturally Savvy. "We continue to let the company know we would

like its policy to allow for the treatment of sick animals–and we are asking

them to provide a sustainable, humanely raised, grass-fed alternative on the

menu the best way forward for moving quickly to implement this policy."

In-N-Out's

commitment, if followed through "will force significant change in in its supply

chain on the West Coast," Hamerschlag said. It would force mega feedlot suppliers

"to focus on improving conditions in order to prevent the animals from getting

sick in the absence of routine antibiotics."

In-N-Out

Burger, a California-based fast food chain with over 300 restaurants in several

western states, became a target of a campaign by advocacy groups. The coalition

of over 50 public interest groups sent a letter to the company. "I urge you to commit to only serving meat at In-N-Out

restaurants that is raised without the routine use of antibiotics," the letter

stated.

In a letter this week, the coalition acknowledged In-N-Out's statement on antibiotics in

its beef supply chain. "We are heartened and encouraged by In-N-Out Burger's

recent statement," the letter stated.

Read more about how antibiotics in our meat is making us sick.

The

letter also urged In-N-Out to take further steps, including:

  • Publish its antibiotics policy

    on its website, with a detailed description of the alternatives to routine

    antibiotic use that the company will urge its suppliers to adopt.

  • Create a concrete timeline for

    phasing out routine antibiotics use for all of its meat supply chains.

  • Act to end the use of

    medically-important antibiotics in beef production in its company's restaurants

    except for what is necessary to treat sick animals.

  • Adopt a third-party audit

    program of its antibiotics policy and publicly benchmark the results that show

    progress in meeting targets.

"By committing to beef raised without routine antibiotics, In-N-Out

has sent a signal to the beef industry that it's time to do the right thing for

public health," Jason Pfeifle, Public Health Advocate, CALPIRG Education Fund, told Naturally Savvy. "Now it's

important for the company to set a clear timeline to help move the beef

industry further in that direction."

Removing the routine use of antibiotics from beef production is

important because antibiotic resistance is a big problem. At least two million

people every year in the U.S. become infected with bacteria that are antibiotic

resistant, and at least 23,000 people die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The World Health Organization attributes the problem of antibiotic resistance, in part,

to the "inappropriate use" of antibiotics among livestock.

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Gina-Marie is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. Hailing from the dry, sunny Central San Joaquin Valley, she hasn't let the heat fry her brain!