Only 2 top burger chains get ‘A' grade for serving antibiotic-free beef

Posted at 1:48 PM, Oct 17, 2018

A new report card is out for dozens of fast-food restaurants, and overall, most failed when it comes to serving antibiotic-free beef.

Only two of the restaurant chains received an A grade for having no antibiotics in their beef. Those two included the up-and-coming chain BurgerFi and Shake Shack. The remaining top 22 burger chains failed to pass the test. 

"We know that change can happen,” says Mark Morgenstein, spokesperson for U.S. PIRG, a consumer and health advocacy group. “We just need the market pressure to be applied.”

The organization is just one of many pushing for safer foods and antibiotic-free farms.   

"The problem starts at the beginning,” Morgenstein says. “It starts on the farm." 

According to the CDC, it’s estimated drug-resistant superbugs kill 23,000 people in America each year.

Just this past year, health groups made progress in getting chains to go antibiotic-free with their chicken.

"When there was pressure from McDonald’s and KFC and Subway not to use antibiotics in chicken, guess what? People like Tyson, major chicken producers, stopped using antibiotics in chicken."





But now, health groups know they need to push for the same change when it comes to beef.

"Hamburgers are the all-American meat," Morgenstein says.

The NOW’s reporter Annie Taylor reached out to companies who received a “D” even an “F” grade on the antibiotic-free report card. 

In-N-Out Burger sent the following response: 

Our company remains committed to beef that is raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine. We’ve had many discussions with our suppliers to explore ways to accomplish this goal. We continue to closely monitor progress in the livestock industry related to limiting the use of antibiotics while ensuring a high standard for animal health and welfare. At this time we are not able to provide a specific timeline.

McDonald’s also responded, stating, "Preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations is highly important to McDonald’s."  

"Pressure is going to change the system, especially from places like McDonald’s,” says Morgenstein. “Mcdonald’s has so much clout internationally."

McDonald’s, being the leader of fast-food restaurants, also said they plan to have their beef antibiotic-free by the end of this year.