A Consumers International (CI) study has revealed that the fast food chain majors of the world have made little or no meaningful commitment to tackle the problem of overuse of antibiotics in farming, that has caused a major global threat to public health.

The study showed that such big names as McDonalds, KFC and Subway have committed to sourcing antibiotics-free meat only in the USA and Canada, if at all.

McDonalds, for instance, has committed to sourcing chicken raised without the routine use of antibiotics in USA by 2017 and in Canada by 2019, but it does not mention other meats, nor has it made similar undertakings in regard to the 98 other countries in which it operates. Similarly, Subway has made public its plans to phase out the use of various types of meats from animals fed with antibiotics, but only in relation to the USA, not to the other 110 other countries where it has a presence. KFC has made no such commitments anywhere, a report released by CI says.

The global public health crisis fueled by the use of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is due in significant part to overuse of antibiotics in farming. The report predicts that the use of antibiotics in agriculture will actually grow, not reduce, by two thirds from 63,200 tonnes in 2010 to 105,600 tonnes in 2030. If the situation is allowed to continue, mankind might find itself back in the times when a minor infection or injury could prove fatal.

Together, these fast food majors have the power to influence the agricultural sector to shun the use of antibiotics.

Amanda Long, Consumers International Director General said: “Given the scale of the public health crisis the world is facing due to antibiotic resistance, the response from KFC, McDonald’s and Subway, as market leaders, has been woefully inadequate.”

“Where commitments have been made they are confined to North America. We need an international response to stop antibiotic resistance. Superbugs don’t recognise national borders.” She added.

The report was compiled, with participation from CI members, in the lead up to World Consumer Rights Day on March 15th. This year consumer rights organisations around the world will be calling on multinational fast-food chains to remove from their menus meat raised on antibiotics important for human medicine.

Source: http://www.consumersinternational.org

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