Way too many burger chains still pump antibiotics into their meat

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/21/way-too-many-burger-chains-sti.html


It also promotes weight gain, producing bigger pigs and cows with the same amount of feed.


Worth emphasizing that A&W in the US is an entirely different company than A&W in Canada. I don’t eat at either, but applaud the latter for not only NOT using meat full of antibiotics and steroids, but (more importantly) promoting the new vegetarian alternative to the beef burger which just might get fewer people to eat meat at all… which is a good thing.


Ugh. I’ve always wondered why chickens in the market look freakishly large now. Sometimes the growth is more obvious in specific parts, like wings.


Also they’re bred that way. Their appetite has no off switch. A fully grown meat bird cannot survive for long even if it isn’t killed. Its bones cannot support its weight, and its heart will give out.


Chickens are not usually fed antibiotics (they aren’t in Canada, I see that this is not necessarily the case in the US, thanks @Peter_Singer). I don’t know about the other growth enhancers that are mentioned in that article. But I suspect most of the size increase is due to breeding - if you only use chicks whose parents were huge, you get bigger chickens for free, whereas supplements in the chicken feed cost money.

Basically the way most cows and pigs are raised nowadays is highly unhealthy for them. If you’re going to be needing to give them rounds of antibiotics anyway to keep them alive and on their feet^, may as well feed it to them continuously so they grow bigger.

^ IIRC, it is illegal in the US to slaughter an animal that cannot walk on its own. Most FDA regulations regarding slaughterhouses are very much stuck in the 19th century - instead of actually testing animals for disease, inspectors merely confirm that the animals can walk under their own power and are not obviously ill. Instead of testing the meat for contamination, inspectors merely check to see if they can see or smell any poop on the meat. Behold the power of industry lobbying.


People who pride themselves about never eating a fast food burger sound awfully concerned.
I want my livestock to have decent health care before it meets the rotating knives and my belly.

Face it…you simply do not like ANY factory farmed meat eating…none. That’s your concern…not antibiotics etc. Be honest with yourself if not your readers.

Also…Burger King makes a wonderful veggie burger on it’s ‘secret menu’ just ask for a whopper jr ‘veggie burger’ and they’ll make one.

And the VEGANS ruined that for us too…because now instead of using the grill to cook it…and it was great on the grill. The Vegan’s complained that the concept of meat touched their burger like they’re Orthodox etc…and required a separate griddle…and now BK just microwaves the burger…and it sucks.


Vegans aren’t one cohesive group. Not all vegans object to meat on the same grill as their veggies. Not all blonds are dumb. Not at athletes play football.
Oh, and most vegans don’t capitalize VEGANS.


Well enough of them did to ruin the Burger King MorningStar Veggie burger.
Which was one of the best burgers out there for people who eat ‘fast food’.
You can still get one…but you have to walk inside and special order it “Cook it on the grill”
/used to travel and fast food was about the only option for food other than that clever little mom and pop place on Yelp 6 miles out of the way from the interstate exit in Mississippi that still gets it’s fries from a sysco bag and hasn’t changed it’s oil since labor day.


How about that, TIL there’s now a Shake Shack in Minnesota, since May of 2016 :slight_smile:
Unfortunately, it’s in the Mall of America :frowning:

They do, however, support a very good cause:

5% of sales from our Pie Oh My concrete support Open Arms of Minnesota , providing nutritious meals for people living with life-threatening illness in the Twin Cities.

(What the heck is “concrete”, though?…Apparently it’s their frozen custard with pie mixed in. Okay!)

Nosh as you will.

If you were privy to the information that your local health department has, you’d never touch cheapo fast food again, ever.


FTFY. It’s terrifying what happens in various eateries, butcher shops and other parts of the food supply chain.


Unfortunately, they aren’t given “rounds of antibiotics”. The antibiotics are in the feed to keep the livestock alive in the crowded filthy environments you mentioned. And since the animals aren’t given time to flush these antibiotics from their system before slaughter, they’re still present in the meat when it’s delivered. And the antibiotics persist through cold storage and most cooking. So the industry is dosing the U.S. population with antibiotics on the regular.


I know that. To keep the animal alive and healthy in the factory farm environment would require so many rounds of antibiotics, it makes more sense to just feed them to the animals constantly. Which has the bonus side effect of making the animal gain weight more rapidly.


It’s the same kind of breeding program that also gave us freakishly large turkeys; they more than doubled in weight in 70 years*. They’re so weighed down with muscle that they can no longer move properly (and, for instance, are literally unable to mate, as their chest muscles are so big they can’t mount). Which is to say that they’ve been bred to the point where they couldn’t survive another generation without constant human intervention.
*Chickens are even worse - over the same time they’ve gone from an average of 2 lbs to more than 9, and now mature 30% faster, too.


I could tell you a few things about grocery stores.

You’re definitely gonna want to wash that produce with soap and water.

Trust me.

ETA: Anything RTE is highly suspect.


I have been to Canada a couple of times in the past few months and managed to try the “Beyond Meat” burger both times. And more surprising to me than how good it was, was the conversations I heard from non-vegetarian / bog-standard omnivores about it. Family members, random construction workers in an airport - people are trying it and liking it.
I’d also like to add, I’d hate to see places advertising 100% antibiotic-free beef. Sometimes an animal, especially one that is grazing outdoors, can get a scrape, an eye infection, or some condition that would require antibiotics. I’d hate to see that care withheld, in order to meet certain contractual requirements.


Yeah, about that: 'Big Chicken' Connects Poultry Farming To Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria : The Salt : NPR


So, your complaint is that Burger King will make you a vegetarian burger the way you like it if you ask them to?

And this is the cause of your complaint against vegans? That you have to ask for the item you already have to specially request to be prepared in a specific way?

I feel I’m missing something here.


While the report insists that the two top rated companies are the only ones demonstrating “real-world progress in sourcing meat raised without the routine use of antibiotics,” only seven of the 25 restaurants listed returned the survey that the report is based upon. That means, 18 restaurants chose not to participate in the survey and received a failing grade, a move the report calls “leaving their customers in the dark regarding antibiotic use practices.”
We need to reduce antibiotic use certainly. But a crappy voluntary survey is not a scientific study.