By 2025, Subway will have cut antibiotic use in meat supplies all around the United States. The announcement was welcome by pressure groups advocating the elimination of antibiotics from meat supplies due to public health concerns.
Amidst growing pressure from health agencies, consumer groups and increased awareness on antibiotic use in poultry and livestock, Subway decided to make a pledge to eliminate antibiotic use altogether from its meat supplies by 2025.
Antibiotic use in the food industry is highly controversial. The newest FDA-backed guidelines require that farms and the food industry curb the use of antibiotics. Large-scale usage of drugs to prevent illness with livestock and poultry and advance rapid growth has led to mutations with the majority of bacteria.
The new antibiotic-resistant bacteria are easily transmitted through meat, plants and vegetables alike to humans. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria represent a serious public health concern, notified not only in the U.S., but around the globe.
In light of these concerns, Subway, the largest restaurant chain in the U.S. by the number of outlets, announced that starting next year, in March, it will gradually introduce antibiotic-free meat supplies. This first step targets specifically poultry meat supplies such as turkey and chicken meat. In the next ten years, Subway plans to do the same with pork and beef meat supplies.
While the pledge is welcome and its implementation benefits consumers around the U.S., it also benefits the image of the restaurant chain. The sandwich provider with the largest number of outlets across the U.S. has seen its image tarnished over the past year by a number of scandals and public polls looking to add more pressure on the food industry to curb antibiotic use.
In recognition, the executive VP of the Subway Independent Purchasing Cooperative declared:
“Today’s consumer is ever more mindful of what they are eating, and we’ve been making changes to address what they are looking for”.
In 2014 Subway sales plummeted to a worrying level for the first time in more than a decade. Now, by 2025 Subway will have cut antibiotic use in meat supplies in all U.S. locations.
Data from U.S. health agencies shows that more than half of antibiotics that are sold annually in the U.S. are destined for animal use. If further development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is to be halted, then antibiotic use in livestock and poultry needs to be eliminated. While legislators recognize the need for a crossover period in the food industry, the steps must be clearly laid down.
Photo Credits: Flickr