More restaurants use antibiotics in their meats than you realize.

Meals are, most likely, going to be the healthiest if we cook them at home. Cooking at home, we can control all of what is going into that meal. This is especially true if we make everything homemade, but I know busy schedules do not allow for this all of the time, and sometimes there is the general impossibility like growing/raising your own food that is definitely a hurdle. As a result, we often need to pick up quick meals here and there.

A recent paper called Chain Reaction (reported on by CBS News) was written by some public interest groups (this included Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Keep Antibiotics Working, and Center for Food Safety) that looked at the use of antibiotics in the meat and poultry served at 25 of the top chain and fast food restaurants.

The scary thing is all but 5, yes I typed 5, restaurants received a failing grade. The two best restaurants, according to this paper, were Panera and Chipotle. Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and Dunkin Donut where the other three restaurants that passed with a B, C, and another C respectively.

Antibiotics used in meats adds to the already overuse of antibiotics in the healthcare field. This can do nothing but lead to more and more antibiotic resistant bugs. It seems that for most of us on a daily basis we are getting some antibiotics introduced into our system without even taking a pill, or, more commonly, without our knowledge. 

So what were the criteria for the passing grades? An “A” grade means that the restaurant has meat options that do not use antibiotics. A “B” grade means there are policies limiting antibiotics use in chicken while saying, additionally, that they will be 100% antibiotic free by 2019. A “C” grade means that there is a policy for the amount used, but for now Dunkin Donuts, for example, does not have a date for when they will stop using antibiotics. McDonald’s says that within two years they will only serve chicken in the US without antibiotics. Neither of the “C” graded companies explain how much of their chicken is currently treated with antibiotics. Plans to add other meats to these policies seem questionable in these latter cases. The restaurants that failed essentially did not have policies in place, and were using antibiotics in their meats.

Please follow the links provided to read the CBS News report, and the Chain Reaction paper (through the Friends of the Earth website). I hope this list gives you something to think about as you grab food out and about. I know that they were not able to check with all restaurants in the U.S., but we as the consumer need to check for ourselves, and know what we are putting into our bodies.

Sources: CBS News,

Image Credit: Ryan Thompson (Wikipedia via Flickr) (CC 2.0)