Dealing with picky eaters

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Customers at Subway Restaurants are now able to order sandwiches made with chickens raised without antibiotics. It’s the latest fast food chain to make the switch, prompted by warnings about the amount of antibiotics being used on livestock.

Public health officials think reducing antibiotic usage will actually make consumers safer. Bowing to consumer pressure for greater transparency about the food they eat, Subway began selling sandwiches made with chickens raised without antibiotics Tuesday.

By 2025, the chain says all the meat across its 30,000 North American restaurants will be antibiotic free.

“This is definitely not a fad.”

Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, welcomes the change.

“This is a problem that’s been brewing for decades and it’s getting seriously worse.”

“Is there any danger to consumers from meat that doesn’t have antibiotics in it?”

“Absolutely none.”

The danger is not the antibiotics themselves, but rather the superbugs which evolve to resist the antibiotic being used by large factory farms. Those drug-resistant germs then enter the food supply.

According to the CDC, 23,000 people die from superbugs every year.

“We’re at the beginning of a potential catastrophe. Even a simple cut could become infected and have a deadly staph infection.”

In September, Halloran worked on a report grading 25 fast food chains on the use of antibiotics in their meats. Only Panera, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts received passing grades.

Last week, In-and-Out Burger said it’s looking to phase out antibiotics from its meat supply, but didn’t specify a timeline.

Wendy’s says it’s offering antibiotic-free grill chicken sandwiches in four test markets.

Farmers use antibiotics to keep their livestock healthy, but Wall Street Journal reporter Jacob Bungee says the restaurants may eventually force their hand.

“They will turn to their chicken suppliers, their pork suppliers and so on and say, ‘We need you to give us meat that has been raised without antibiotics.”

“The price of these meals probably will not go up much, if at all.”

“They seem to be making changes without having price increases for the consumer.”

Laura Bleill, with Chambana Moms, joins us.

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