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Restaurant Chains Claim Reductions In Antibiotics Use, But Who Really Knows?

June 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Several large fast-food restaurant chains have announced voluntary “free from antibiotics” policies thanks to pressure from consumers and consumer advocacy groups. But with limited information from the companies themselves, no agreed-upon standards, and no government regulation, how does a consumer really know whether his pizza is antibiotics-free? Each company is implementing the policy in its own way, some following, for example, USDA guidelines for reducing drug use in livestock production except in case of illness. But one fact remains clear: there's little evidence that agricultural use of antibiotics is dropping. The FDA reported in December that antibiotics sales for farm animals was up 22 percent from 2009 to 2014. International use is expected to rise 66 percent by 2030.
Deena Shanker, "Can You Really Know If That Pizza Is Antibiotic-Free?", Bloomberg, June 04, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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