How KFC, Subway and McDonald’s can help the fight against antibiotic resistance | Letters

Letters: We are calling on KFC, Subway and McDonald’s to end the routine use of all antibiotics included on the World Health Organisation’s list of medically important antimicrobials, in all of their livestock supply chains

By 2050, drug-resistant infections are expected to cause 10 million deaths annually – becoming a bigger killer than cancer is today. By 2050, antimicrobial resistance is also expected to cost the world $100tn and could push more than 28 million people into extreme poverty.

Misuse of antibiotics in food animals is a major driver of resistance. Farm animals consume about two-thirds of the world’s antibiotics, with much of this added to feed or water to make animals grow faster or to counter unsanitary conditions in factory farming facilities. Between 2010 and 2030, it is predicted that antibiotic use in food animal production will increase by two-thirds.

In World Antibiotics Awareness Week, we are calling on KFC, Subway and McDonald’s to end the routine use of all antibiotics included on the World Health Organisation’s list of medically important antimicrobials, in all of their livestock supply chains. This means prohibiting suppliers from using these antibiotics for growth promotion or disease prevention and only using them when there has been a diagnosis of illness.

We welcome the progress that has been made by Subway and McDonald’s in North America and urge KFC to follow suit. But action in one region will not be enough. Consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly aware of the negative health impact of misuse of antibiotics in livestock farming. Drug-resistant infections do not respect national boundaries. We urge KFC, Subway and McDonald’s to make global commitments and develop timetables for action with targets.
Amanda Long Director general, Consumers International, Jean Halloran Director of food policy initiatives, Consumer Reports, Catherine Howarth Chief executive, ShareAction, Angus Wong Lead digital campaign strategist, SumOfUs, Steve Roach Food safety programme director, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Emma Rose Campaigns, lobbying and communications specialist, The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, Rosie Wardle Programme director, Jeremy Coller Foundation, Alan Briefel Executive director, FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return), Josh Zinner Chief executive officer, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Laura Rogers Deputy director, Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University, Anna Zorzet Head of ReAct Europe, Leslie Samuelrich President, Green Century Capital Management, Steve Blackledge Public health programme director, US Public Interest Research Group

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