‘Consumer’ Groups Demand In-N-Out Burger Stop Serving Meat Made With Antibiotics


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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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A coalition of more than 30 environmental and consumer groups sent a letter to In-N-Out Burger Thursday, urging the company to stop serving beef made with antibiotics.

After representatives from the same organizations sent a very similar letter last year, In-N-Out Burger said it was “committed to beef not raised with antibiotics important to human medicine.”

Now the groups want an update on its progress.

“In-N-Out made a promise to the public, and the company should follow through. It’s that simple,” said Jason Pfeifle of the California Public Interest Research Group. “Fifteen months is more than enough time to set a clear timeline for switching to beef raised without routine antibiotics.”

Other health advocates agree that a year is more than sufficient time for the restaurant chain to start altering the recipes that make it so popular.

“It’s time for In-N-Out Burger to stop dragging its feet and make good on its promise to require its meat suppliers to improve practices and end the misuse of antibiotics,” said Kari Hamerschlag, deputy director of food and technology at Friends of the Earth. “In-N-Out can immediately make good on its promise by serving a more sustainable grass-fed or organic burger option that is produced without routine antibiotics.”

Antibiotics were first introduced to U.S. livestock during the beginning of the 20th century. Trying to keep up with the rapidly-evolving urbanized regions of the country at the time, American farmers wanted to satisfy the high demands of the non-food-producing majority.

While some scientists feared that people could build up resistance to certain chemical properties of the antibiotics, thereby diminishing the effectiveness of the drugs when used for medical treatment, consumers rebuffed the concerns. The carnivorous desires of Americans seemed to outweigh any apprehensiveness of bacterial resistance.

In the 21st century, the clamoring over antibiotic use in meat production appears to be growing. And restaurants are obliging, even capitalizing on the selective preference.

Other highly frequented and profitable food establishments, like Chipotle, boast about their ability to make (subjectively) good-tasting meat and dairy products without the use of antibiotics. Five of the top 25 restaurant chains have made some form of commitment to serving meat raised without antibiotics, according to Consumer Reports.

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