The fast food and restaurant industries have not exactly been on the forefront of sourcing clean and sustainable food ingredients in recent years, but some chains have emerged as front-runners in this new era of more ethical, additive-free and eco-friendly food production.
Unfortunately when it comes to antibiotic use in beef, most of the United States’ top restaurants still have a long way to go, however, as evidenced by the recent scorecard results from the Center for Food Safety.
While the country’s top two sources of “clean” ingredients among restaurant chains scored remarkably well yet again, there were plenty of disappointments on this year’s scorecard, as many of the most popular chains received failing grades on the report, titled “Chain Reaction V.”
Applebee’s, Arby’s and Olive Garden Among Those With “F” Grades
The investigation examined beef from 21 different restaurant chains, and only two came out with grades in the “A” range this time around: Chipotle, which received an “A,” and Panera Bread, which received an “A-.”
McDonald’s made the biggest positive jump this year, garnering a “C” rating alongside Subway, although both companies still have menus that are loaded with GMO ingredients like the vast majority of other restaurants on this list.
Sadly, these four companies were the only ones to stay out of the “D” range among all restaurants tested.
The following fast food and restaurant chains all received grades of “D+” or lower: Wendy’s (D+), Taco Bell (D), Starbucks (F), Burger King (F), Domino’s (F), Pizza Hut (F), Sonic, (F), Applebee’s (F), Olive Garden (F), Buffalo Wild Wings (F), Little Caesars (F), Arby’s (F), Dairy Queen (F), Jack In the Box (F), Chili’s (F), IHOP (F) and Panda Express (F) all rounded out the bottom part of the list.
These grades are particularly troubling considering the widespread overuse of antibiotics in livestock production, which “significantly contributes to the rise and spread of antibiotic resistance,” according to the Center for Food Safety’s report.
“Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the increasingly hard-to-treat infections they cause, are a global health crisis, risking a future in which common illnesses could once again become life-threatening on a large scale,” the report reads.
While there were some positive shifts in the industry this year, most chains’ policy changes are in the early stages, meaning that this could continue to be a serious problem for years to come.
The good news, however, is that many of these restaurants have made significant progress on reducing or eliminating the use of antibiotics in their chicken products.
Among restaurant chains, the ones to avoid buying chicken from include Arby’s, Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dairy Queen, Sonic, Popeye’s, Little Caesars, and Panda Express.
All of these chain restaurants have no policy in place for reducing or eliminating antibiotic use in chicken products, a major red flag considering many of the aforementioned restaurants, especially Buffalo Wild Wings, Arby’s and Chili’s for example, have chicken-heavy menus.
To read and download the full report, visit the Center for Safety’s website here.