One less additive

Overuse of antibiotics has one well-known unfortunate consequence: the evolution of bacteria resistant to them. Vast quantities of antibiotics are used to dose up livestock and poultry, which doesn’t help matters at all. Fortunately, some fast-food name brands are about to shift to the undosed variety:

The parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, Restaurant Brands International Inc., has vowed to stop injecting chickens with antibiotics by the end of 2018.

Neither of these operations is famed for its chicken products, but this one is:

The company, which recently bought Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, said that the rule would apply to all brands under its umbrella.

Perdue and Tyson, the top two chicken processors, will be doing likewise, making it easier for the eateries to stick to their pledge.

(Via Fark.)


  1. Brian J. »

    29 June 2017 · 6:18 am

    This will put a lot of chicken injectors out of work. Who speaks for them?

  2. ETat »

    29 June 2017 · 6:52 am

    Wouldn’t it have consequences on livestock’ health? There was a reason for ab injections – how are they prepared now to attend to mass of their patients? Would it result in higher price of care, -> higher price of chicken for consumers?
    Everything else is just a secondary chit-chat.

  3. Holly H »

    29 June 2017 · 8:40 am

    haha! Yes, the Chicken Injectors’ Union will chime in on this, surely.

    ETat, the reason for injections has been reviewed by scientists, and found to be deficient. Apparently, it does result in fatter animals. But that is the only upside, amid a huge number of downsides, including a continual weakening of antibiotics to do what they are supposed to do, ie, fight actual diseases.

  4. fillyjonk »

    29 June 2017 · 9:39 am

    My understanding is that in a lot of cases it’s done prophylactically – that is, the animal isn’t sick but they’re gonna shoot it up on the remote chance it might become sick with something bacterial. (Also, I think there was some belief it made them grow faster?)

    There was a scary article in one of the scientific publications I read a few years back about the rise of “resistomes” – groups of antibiotic-resistance genes – showing up in common environmental bacteria. Because of a little weirdness about how bacterial sex works, in rare cases, bacteria can transfer genes between species (and to other bacteria of their own species).

    So the real concern is that maybe we wind up with scarlet fever or other bacterial diseases that are no longer treatable with antibiotics because of the spread of resistance. We really have overused antibiotics in the past; doctors used to hand them out for things they knew to be viral.

    As someone who might not have made it out of childhood except for antibiotics being able to knock out a couple of bad infections, I kind of have a “thing” about antibiotics continuing to be useful to treat disease….

  5. ETat »

    29 June 2017 · 1:50 pm

    E.: yes, naturally, the resistance mechanism and its consequences are scary; nobody wants to all of a sudden to be in square one, fighting against tuberculosis and black plague.

    Prophylactic (no real need) use of antibiotics is easy to stop – but what are they going to fight livestock infections with in case there are real ones? Modern farms are huge, they can
    ‘t put individual birds/animals in isolation/ quarantine, can they?

  6. fillyjonk »

    29 June 2017 · 8:29 pm

    I’m not even sure they can sell (at least some kinds of sick) sick critters, they probably get put down right away.

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