Wendy's Co, the fifth-largest U.S. fast-food chain by revenue, will quit using chickens raised with antibiotics important to human health by 2017, the company told Reuters on Thursday.
Fast-food industry leader McDonald's Corp. on Monday said it had completed its shift to using only using chickens raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, months ahead of its estimated March 2017 target.
Concern has been growing among public health experts, consumers and shareholders that the overuse of such drugs is contributing to rising numbers of life-threatening human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria dubbed "superbugs."
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Editor's Insight: The antibiotic-free movement continues to grow. McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A have both committed to using only antibiotic-free chicken. Several major chicken processors have also committed to raising more chickens without antibiotics.
Does science support the perception that the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals is contributing to the antibiotic resistance issues that are relevant to human medicine?
Some scientists have questioned this, and the food industry needs to pay attention to science. Long-term, removing antibiotics from the animal food supply may not be in the best interest of public health. Some have pointed out there is little evidence to support the perception that the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals is contributing to the antibiotic resistance issues that are relevant to human medicine.
It is hard to predict what the long-term ramifications will be from the antibiotic-free movement. The food industry should support health research and pay close attention to the science behind health claims. 8-9-16 By Elliot Maras