Antibiotics in Meat Production

Vet administering antibiotics

Antibiotics, even those important to human medicine, are frequently used for rapid growth promotion in livestock  and poultry and to prevent illness in animals living in cramped and unhealthy conditions. The FDA estimates that animal agriculture accounts for 70 percent of all U.S. antibiotic use. 

The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in the meat industry is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistance in the U.S. and across the world. This serious public health issue is responsible for 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year.  Read the latest research here and here

What does my food have to do with antibiotic resistance? Healthcare Without Harm

2017 Investor Campaign on Antibiotics

ICCR members advocate for restricting antibiotics in food production to therapeutic use only. Specifically, we urge food companies and restaurant chains to:

  • Adopt a policy (effective through both company-owned and contract farms), to protect human health, by restricting the non-therapeutic use (such as for growth promotion, feed efficiency, weight gain, or disease prevention) of antibiotics in the meat supply chain.
  • Report on the amount of antibiotics used, and for what purpose through to contract farmers (may start with company-owned and then on contract farms)
  • Adopt a management plan to reduce nutrient pollution in its supply chain with specific goals for pollution prevention and goals on reduction of wastewater discharge in facilities and throughout the supply chain

Together with ShareAction, FAIRR,  and As You Sow, ICCR members are targeting the following companies:

  • Darden
  • Jack in the Box
  • Hormel Foods Corp.
  • McDonald's
  • Restaurant Brands International
  • Sanderson Farms
  • Starbucks
  • Wendy's
  • Yum! Brands

ShareAction - Phasing Out Antibiotic Use: Too Soon to Count the Chickens?

Causes of antibiotic resistance - WHO

Which major food companies are committed to reducing antibiotic use? The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzes which companies are leading the way in a series of detailed charts:

Pew Trust table

What the Press is Saying

Reuters: McDonald's Investor Renews Push for Antibiotic Reduction in all meat

The Guardian: How KFC, Subway and McDonald's can Help Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance

Featured Resources  

Alternatives to Antibiotics in Animal Agriculture

Superbugs and Superisks: A briefing for investors

Vaccinating salmon: How Norway avoids antibiotics in fish farming

Expanding Antibiotic Stewardship

Global investor statement on antibiotic resistance

Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return - Investor Case Studies, Volume 2: Discusses the risks and opportunities of intensive animal farming (aka concentrated animal feeding operations/CAFOs)



Chain Reaction II

How Top Restaurants Rate on Antibiotics

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance - How it happens and what you can do about