Antibiotics in Beef: Only 2 Out of 25 Burger Chains Score an “A”


Posted on: October 17, 2018

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Antibiotics in beef - Dr. Axe

When you order a burger at many of the most popular chains in the country, chances are you’re getting more than beef and a bun. According to a newly released report from a coalition of America’s leading food and environmental organizations including Center for Food Safety, antibiotics are a major issue when it comes to mainstream beef.

The analysis, titled Chain Reaction IV: Burger Edition, is a must-see report that rates burger chains around the country on the quality of their beef; specifically when it comes to the use of antibiotics.

You may already be familiar with some of the insane things antibiotics can do to your body.  And one of the biggest concerns of overexposure to antibiotics is something called antibiotic resistance, which occurs when an antibiotic can no longer effectively control or kill bacterial growth in the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least two million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually, and at least 23,000 people die as a result. (1)

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) calls antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today. The WHO also points out that serious infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis and salmonella are now becoming challenging to treat. In general, mortality rates due to antibiotic resistance are continuing to rise around the world. (2) These are some scary facts to say the least.

When it comes to antibiotic use in beef, let”s take a closer look at how the top 25 burger chains in the United States are rating these days. Spoiler alert: the majority are not just rating poorly; they’re completely failing.

Main Scorecard Findings

The grades from the Center for Food Safety show how each fast food chain scored in terms of its beef quality, specifically when it comes to antibiotic use: (3)

BurgerFi: A

  • One of only two chains on the list that sources beef that has been raised without the routine use of antibiotics.
  • BurgerFi says that they use “100 percent all-natural Angus beef patties that are hormone- and antibiotic-free.”

Shake Shack: A

  • Like BurgerFi, Shake Shack publicly declares it uses beef that was raised without routine antibiotic use.
  • Shake Shack notes that its proprietary blend of freshly ground beef is “100 percent Angus beef, made from premium whole muscle cuts — no hormones or antibiotics, EVER.”

Wendy’s: D-

  • Wendy’s currently sources 15 percent of its beef from producers that have stopped using one medically important antibiotic called tylosin by 20 percent.

McDonald’s: F

Burger King: F

Sonic: F

Jack in the Box: F

Hardee’s: F

Whataburger: F

Carl’s Jr: F

Five Guys: F

Culver’s: F

Steak ‘n Shake: F

In-N-Out Burger: F

White Castle: F

Checkers: F

Crystal: F 

Smashburger: F

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers: F

The Habit Burger Grill: F

Rally’s: F

Fuddruckers: F

A&W All American Food: F

Jack’s: F

Farmer Boys: F


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