Household Names Take Strides to Stop Overuse of Antibiotics
When we think of antibiotic resistance, we rarely associate the growing global problem with fast food chains, but fast food outlets are one of the largest buyers of farmed meat in the world and many have started to focus on how their policies can impact antibiotic resistance.
In the US, medically important antibiotics are mainly administered to farmed animals and have led to the development of ‘superbugs’ that are resistant to treatment and can affect humans as well as animals. In recent years, campaigners have focused on pushing household name retailers and fast food chains to demand change within the farming industry and many have started to focus on the practices of their supply chain.
In 2018, McDonald’s announced a new policy to assess and limit the use of medically important antibiotics primarily in its beef supply chain where progress in antibiotic reduction had slowed compared to the poultry industry. The policy consisted of a plan to measure antibiotic use in its top 10 beef supplying market and develop targets for reducing the levels of antibiotics used. Other key industry players soon followed, with Wendy’s and Taco Bell announcing similar policies.
The implementation of these policies, along with official regulations from the US, China and EU on the routine use of preventative antibiotics contributes towards the overall goal of a huge reduction in antibiotics in farmed animals and shows consumers that this is an issue being taken seriously on the global stage. Suppliers are now forced to look at their routine practices and make changes at farm level such as increasing the space animals have to help decrease infection levels, separating animals being treated for infections instead of mass administering drugs to all animals and reducing the use of ‘intense farming’ practices where animals are fed heavily in confined areas to speed up the growth process.
To ensure the safe supply of antibiotic free meat through fast food chains and retail outlets, it’s important that testing is carried out during the production process to ensure meat is meeting the required regulatory levels. Biorex Food Diagnostics develops and manufactures ELISA based tests for meat and poultry, testing for a range of antibiotics and growth promoters. The ELISA test method is easy to use, offers simple sample preparations, quick assay times and low limits of detection.
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