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.
Amanda Long, Director General, Consumers International
Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives, Consumer Reports
Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive, ShareAction
Angus Wong, Lead Digital Campaign Strategist, SumOfUs
Steve Roach, Food Safety Program Director, Food Animal Concerns Trust
Emma Rose, Campaigns, Lobbying and Communications Specialist, The Alliance to Save our Antibiotics
Rosie Wardle, Programme Director, Jeremy Coller Foundation
Alan Briefel, Executive Director, FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return)
Josh Zinner, Chief Executive Officer, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Anna Zorzet, Head of ReAct Europe, ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Resistance
Leslie Samuelrich, President, Green Century Capital Management
Steve Blackledge, Public Health Program Director, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG)
Laura Rogers, Deputy Director, Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University