Compared to the first Chain Reaction report, Chain Reaction II showed that twice as many fast food chains could receive a passing “grade” (3). This is certainly encouraging and demonstrates that the public’s cry for transparency in the food industry is not entirely falling on deaf ears. However, the report also reveals that there is still a far way to go.
Out of the 25 companies analyzed only 2, Panera Bread and Chipotle, received an A grade, which is “reserved for companies that have policies limiting the routine use of antibiotics across all the meat and poultry they serve and publicly affirming that the majority of their meat and poultry is sourced accordingly.”(3)
Fast food chains receiving B or C grades have mixed progress and remain concerns. McDonald’s, for example, managed to source 100% of its chicken from antibiotic-free farming but made no similar progress for their pork or beef products. Other mediocre grades were given to:
- Taco Bell
D grades were earned by companies who made some, but very little efforts to curb antibiotics use. Papa John’s, for example, created good corporate policies, but only implemented them to a fraction of their meat purchases. Meanwhile, the 16 fast food chains that earned a pitiful F grade, were noted to have taken no steps at all to minimize antibiotic use. These failing chains include:
- Dunkin Donuts
- Olive Garden
- Jack in the Box
- Burger King
- Domino’s Pizza
- Little Caesar’s
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Dairy Queen
The Chain Reaction report can provide a map to help consumers navigate the tricky waters of the fast food industry, but if you want to avoid antibiotic-filled meats more effectively, it’s important to stay informed while grocery shopping as well.
Opt for organic meats whenever possible. Under the National Organic Program, organic meats must be raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones to receive the NOP Organic label (6). If you’re shopping locally, ask your butcher or farmer about how your meat was raised. The more meals you’re able to make yourself from scratch with whole foods, the better.