x

Tampa Bay and Sarasota's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Tampa Bay and Sarasota, FL | WTSP.com

Fast-Food grades released: How did your favorite guilty pleasure do?

An annual report says that many popular restaurants are slow to implement policies to reduce antibiotics in the beef supply.
Credit: annamoskvina
(Credit: Thinkstock)

It's report card time. For the fifth year, 25 top fast-food and fast-casual chains were rated on their efforts to reduce antibiotics in their beef supply. 

The results aren't great. Fifteen restaurants earned an 'F'. 

While most people don't go to fast-food restaurants looking for a healthy meal, they probably aren't thinking about how they might be consuming antibiotics along with that tasty burger.

The Chain Reaction report combined information from six organizations including the Center for Food Safety, Consumer Reports, and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center to measure the efforts and successes of popular restaurants' policies. 

That includes their implementation of a policy to be transparent about the source of their meat.

Those organizations want to see the routine use of antibiotics on animals raised for food phased out. 

That's because the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control say that antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a leading health threat both in the U.S and worldwide. 

According to the report, 160,000 people die in the U.S each year due to antibiotic-resistant infections. They also say that is now the 4th leading cause of death in the country.

Essentially, the CDC says that eating yummy cheeseburgers sourced from factory farms where their livestock are given antibiotics regularly can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections in people. 

Since two-thirds of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S go to "food animals," according to the report -- and 42 percent of that is used on cattle -- the organizations focused on beef supplies in the report, but they also looked at chicken sourcing, which is much improved since they began keeping track in 2015.

The report says that "top restaurant chains and chicken producers have made tremendous strides in the past four years in curtailing the routine use of medically important antibiotics in the U.S. chicken industry," but it goes on to say some of the same chains that are making improvements in sourcing their chickens are not pushing their beef suppliers to "adopt similar responsible antibiotic use practices."

So how did America's most popular fast-food and chain restaurants do? 

Top grades for beef went to Chipoltle and Panera with A's. 

Subway and McDonald's earned C's.

Wendy's and Taco Bell scored D's. 

In the F category: Burger King, DQ, Jack in the Box, Pizza Hut, Applebee's, IHOP, Starbucks, Dominoes, Sonic, Olive Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings, Little Caesars, Arby's, Chili's, Panda Express and Popeyes. 

According to the report, none of those restaurants have a policy on taking any action to curb their sourcing of antibiotic laden beef. 

Restaurants that got an F in the beef category -- but are commended for making the switch to serving chicken that is not raised on a regimen of antibiotics -- are Burger King, Domino's, Starbucks and Jack in the Box.

Chipotle, Dunkin Donuts, KFC, Chick-fil-A, Panera, Subway, Wendy's, McDonald's and Taco Bell also met their commitments to phasing out antibiotic-treated chickens. 

The highest graded fast-food and fast-casual restaurant grades in 2019, in order of points, are Chick-fil-A, KFC, Panera, and Chipotle.

To see the full report click here.