Consumers, Doctors, Farmers from Colorado Springs Call on Subway to Help Save Antibiotics
Action by Restaurant Giant Would Help Stop Rise of “Superbugs”
Thousands of consumers, doctors, farmers and restaurant owners joined a call to action for restaurant giant Subway to phase out meats produced with routine use of antibiotics (i.e. for growth promotion and disease prevention). As the largest fast-food chain in the world, Subway’s action on this issue would be crucial to help tackle the growing health crisis of antibiotic resistance.
“Subway is a company that prides itself on being a healthy fast food option, and should therefore take a leadership role and stop serving meat raised on antibiotics,” said Susan Stancampiano, Campaign Organizer with the state advocacy group CoPIRG. “Thousands of consumers, doctors, farmers and restaurant owners from across the state agree – we need the world’s largest fast food chain to go antibiotic free if we are going to preserve this critical drug for future generations.”
While Subway is currently testing a sandwich using chicken raised without using antibiotics in southern California, the company has offered no further public commitment regarding poultry and meat produced without the routine use of antibiotics across its U.S. stores.
In recent months, a host of major buyers and poultry producers including Perdue, McDonald’s, and Tyson Foods – the largest chicken producer in the United States – have committed to buying or producing chicken without the routine use of antibiotics. Chick-fil-A has made a commitment to only purchase chicken raised without antibiotics within five years. Subway competitor Panera Bread has provided customers with meat and poultry from animals raised without antibiotics for years.
- Courtesy CoPIRG
- A mock 6-foot-long Subway sandwich consists of pictures of consumers "photo petitioning" the chain discontinue usage of meats that utilize antibiotics.
Richard Skorman, co-owner of Poor Richards Restaurant and Rico’s Café and Wine Bar in Colorado Springs, expressed his desire for Subway to take a leadership role in this issue, “As a locally- owned restaurant that mostly serves meat and poultry raised without antibiotics, we would applaud Subway if they required its suppliers to stop raising meat without antibiotics. It would help build broader industry pressure on meat and poultry producers to reform their production practices and hopefully give all of us affordable choices to serve healthy food in the future.”
Along with advocates with CoPIRG, local rancher Mike Callicrate spoke today in front of an 8-foot “sandwich” made of photos of local consumers calling on Subway to act. Callicrate spoke to the benefits that this could have not only for health purposes, but also for the family farmers. “I would love to see a marketplace today that does not use sub-therapeutic antibiotics for growth promotion, only for therapeutic use when absolutely necessary, and the return of a lot of new family farmers. This could be a vehicle to make that all happen.”
The list of people that see the need for Subway to step up to the plate is extensive. Dr. Ben Young of Summit County, Infectious Disease Clinician and Global Health Advocate said, “The indiscriminate use of antibiotics in the agricultural industry has manifold implications that negatively impact the health of humans and our environment and I call on Subway to reconsider the use of antibiotics on meats in their supply chain."
Background on antibiotics overuse on industrial farms:
Due to misuse and overuse, leading medical experts warn that antibiotics could stop working – with grave consequences for public health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year at least two million Americans become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Despite this threat to public health, up to 70 percent of medically important antibiotics sold in the United States are for use on livestock and poultry. Many large industrial farms routinely give antibiotics to animals that are not sick to speed up growth and preventively to compensate for poor diets and stressful, crowded and often unsanitary confinement conditions.
Using microscopic footage, harrowing personal stories and expert insights, Resistance delves into the history of antibiotic resistance, starting with the mass production of antibiotics 70 years ago and tracking the rise of superbugs into the 21st century.
Factory farms regularly feed animals daily low doses of antibiotics to compensate for filthy living conditions. This practice is breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria and making the medicines we rely on to treat simple infections less effective when we actually need them.
Following the screening, hear from Lisa Trope, Colorado organizer with Food & Water Watch, about the local campaign to curb factory farm abuse of antibiotics, and learn how you can get involved!