Fast food firms cut antibiotic use after pressure from investors

Work by the FAIRR initiative puts pressure on fast food firms to reduce the use of antibiotics in their food chains.

Beef burger. Photo credit: Pexels

Beef burger. Photo credit: Pexels

A new report on improving antibiotics stewardship in livestock supply chains is the culmination of a three-year FAIRR-led engagement supported by a $4.9 trillion investor coalition.

As part of the engagement investors asked 20 global food giants including McDonalds and Yum! brands to reduce antibiotic use and curb the risk from growing antibiotic resistance. Before the engagement, no company had an antibiotic stewardship policy. Now, 95% of the companies have one in place or in development. In addition, 60% of the companies have committed to reduce or prohibit the routine use of medically important antibiotics in line with WHO recommendations.

“FAIRR will be looking at each company’s reporting and disclosure on how they are implementing the policies and commitments they have made. If we see no progress in terms of implementation that could be grounds to re-engage formally,” Jo Raven, engagement manager at FAIRR, told Reuters.

Sustain are a co-founder of the alliance to Save Our Antibiotics. The systematic overuse of antibiotics in human and animal medicine is undermining their ability to cure life-threatening infections. Experts now predict that, globally, 10 million people a year could die from antibiotic resistant infections by 2050. In the foreword to the FAIRR report Dame Sally Claire Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, says:

"The meat and dairy sectors are acutely exposed to the crisis. Animal agriculture is the largest consumer of antibiotics globally and consumption is projected to rise by two-thirds by 2030. This rampant overuse cannot continue."


28/05/2019
Save Our Antibiotics

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Save Our Antibiotics: The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is a coalition of health, medical, environmental and animal welfare groups campaigning to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming. It was founded by the Soil Association, Compassion in World Farming, and Sustain, and is supported by the Jeremy Coller Foundation.

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