An open letter to the CEOs of KFC, McDonald’s and Subway
15th November 2016
Dear Mr. Greg Creed, Mr. Steve Easterbrook and Ms. Suzanne Greco,
By 2050, drug-resistant infections are expected to cause 10 million deaths annually - becoming a bigger killer than cancer is today. The projected economic costs of this growing public health threat are also staggering. By 2050, antimicrobial resistance is expected to cost the world $100 trillion, and, according to the World Bank, could push over 28 million people into extreme poverty.
Misuse of antibiotics in food animals is a major driver of resistance. Farm animals consume around two-thirds of the world’s antibiotics, with much of this added to feed or water to make animals grow faster or to counter unsanitary conditions in factory farming facilities. Between 2010 and 2030, it is predicted that antibiotic use in food animal production will increase by two-thirds.
This World Antibiotics Week, we are calling on you as global food businesses to end the routine use of all antibiotics included on the World Health Organization’s list of medically important antimicrobials, in all of your livestock supply chains. This means prohibiting your suppliers from using these antibiotics for growth promotion or disease prevention and only using these antibiotics when there has been a diagnosis of illness.
We welcome the progress that has been made by Subway and McDonald’s in North America and urge KFC to follow suit now. But action in one region will not be enough. Consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly aware of the negative health impact of misuse of antibiotics in livestock farming. Drug-resistant infections do not respect national boundaries. We urge you to make a global commitment and develop a timetable for action with targets.
There is global consensus from the WHO, United Nations, country governments including those of the G20, scientists and doctors on the urgent need for global action to stop the threat of antibiotic resistance. As the world’s leading restaurant chains, you can drive change faster than legislation alone. In the interests of consumers, of public health, and of your owners, shareholders and investors, we urge you to act now and to act globally.
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