In-N-Out Vows To Remove Antibiotics From Meat To Save Us All From Drug Resistant "Superbugs"

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You want a little meth with that shake? (Photo by jakerome via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

In the everlasting quest to make sure we don’t all die from an antibiotic resistant ‘superbug,’ activists have managed another modest victory. Following a public letter addressed to In-N-Out Burger from consumer group CALPIRG, In-N-Out has affirmed a commitment to using meat from animals not treated with antibiotics, according to Reuters.

"Our company is committed to beef that is not raised with antibiotics important to human medicine. We've asked our suppliers to accelerate their progress toward establishing antibiotic alternatives,” said VP of Quality for In-N-Out Keith Brazeau in a statement to Reuters.

For us health conscious Californians, meat grown with antibiotics paves a slippery slope to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Per the Center for Disease Control, "there is strong evidence that some antibiotic resistance in bacteria is caused by antibiotic use in food animals."

According to Eater, about 70 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States end up in animal feed. The rationale goes that such blatant use of antibiotics encourages the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the factory farms our civilization uses to feed itself. The antibiotics in animal feed are the very same ones our doctor may prescribe us for an ear infection, meaning any superbug that may evolve in animals would be equally potent in humans.

More than 23,000 people die each year in the United States from antibiotic resistant infections. Consequently, several restaurant chains like Subway, Panera Bread, and even McDonalds have already eliminated or are working towards ridding antibiotics from their supply chains. Tyson foods, the nation’s second largest producer of chicken meat, said last April that it too would remove human antibiotics from its animals.

This makes In-N-Out Burger somewhat late to the antibiotic elimination game, but still represents a step forward with relation to public health.