Statement on Wendys progress on antibiotic use in its meat supply chain

PIRGs's picture
Friday, December 15, 2017

Today, Wendy’s, the sixth largest U.S. restaurant by sales, announced updates regarding antibiotic use in its meat supply chain.

The company stated that all chicken served in its U.S. restaurants now come from animals raised without antibiotics important to human medicine. It also announced that, “beginning in 2018, Wendy’s will source about 15% of its beef from this progressive group of producers that have each committed to a 20% reduction of the only medically important antibiotic routinely fed to their cattle.”

"Wendy's is an iconic restaurant and a major meat buyer. We applaud the company for fulfilling its commitment to eliminate medically important antibiotics from its chicken supply. And we welcome these steps away from routine antibiotic use in beef production,” said Matthew Wellington, U.S. PIRG Antibiotics Program Director. 

“Given what's at stake, our ability to treat infections and save lives, we urge Wendy's to move quickly to eliminate routine antibiotic use across the board in its meat supply chain," said Wellington.

The routine use of antibiotics in meat production contributes to the rise and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria that can cause infections that are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to cure. As such, antibiotics should only be used to treat sick animals or if needed to control an identified disease outbreak. 

By beginning to move away from routine antibiotic use in its meat supply chain beyond chicken, Wendy’s is setting an important example that others in the industry should follow. We urge the company to continue making progress toward eliminating routine antibiotic use from its entire meat supply, and to come out with a concrete timeline for achieving that goal. 

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