CI calls on McDonalds, Subway and KFC to cut use of antibiotics in meat supply

17 Nov 2015

Consumers International has written to the three largest international restaurant chains, McDonald’s, Subway and KFC, calling on them to stop serving meat and poultry from animals routinely given antibiotics used in human medicine.


The campaign is launched during World Antibiotic Resistance Awareness Week, an event organised by the World Health Organization (WHO). Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. The WHO has warned that, without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

Growing antibiotic resistance is driven by over use of antibiotics.  Around half of the antibiotics produced globally are used in agriculture, with much of this being used to promote faster growth and to prevent, rather than treat, disease. Despite worldwide concern about the overuse of antibiotics, their use in agriculture is due to increase by two thirds by 2030: from 63,200 tons in 2010, to 105,600 tons in 2030.  

Consumers International has written to McDonald’s, Subway and KFC to ask about their international policies on the use of antibiotics. The campaign is also supported by a number of CI Members from around the world. The letters call on the companies to define a time-bound action plan to phase out the routine use of antibiotics used in human medicine across all meat and poultry supply chains. The companies have until 23rd December to respond.

Speaking from the CI World Congress in Brasilia this week, Amanda Long, Director General of Consumers International said:

“If antibiotic resistance continues to grow unchecked the results will be catastrophic. Global restaurant chains are in a position to use their huge buying power to have real impact on the use of antibiotics in food production, to set the agenda for other businesses and to promote public awareness of this looming crisis.

Dr Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organization underlined the role of consumers in an address to G7 health ministers last month:

“Consumer groups and civil society can play an important role in combating antimicrobial resistance. They are important movers, shakers, and front-line players, especially in this age of social media.

Consumers who question the safety of food produced from heavily-medicated animals, and make purchasing decisions accordingly, can have a profound impact on industry practices.”

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