In-N-Out Burger Just Made A Major Announcement

Good news, In-N-Out fans — the chain's beloved burger is about to get even better. Facing pressure from activists, the chain has announced its commitment to switching over to only serving beef raised without antibiotics, it shared with Reuters in an email last week. So far, the Irvine, California-based chain has not released a timeline for making the change at its 300 locations.

The use of antibiotics in livestock has become more and more of a hot-button issue in recent years. Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon; each time one of these drugs is used, any bacteria that has developed resistance can survive and multiply, leading to a greater chance of infections that cannot be treated. If these bacteria end up in meat that we eat, they can infect humans.

Consumer safety
and researchers have warned for years that the overuse of the medicines can help give rise to antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that threaten human health, and in recent years its become a point of contention. Finally, in 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put out voluntary guidance to pressure the meat industry to end the long-standing practice of administering antibiotics (especially those important for treating infections in humans) to healthy animals to make them grow bigger and faster.

While many grocery brands have answered the call for antibiotic-free meat, restaurants are also beginning to pay attention. In-N-Out joins a growing number of fast-food chains to switch over to antibiotic-free meats, most notably it’s competitor, Shake Shack, which has long touted it’s all-natural beef. McDonald’s has also pledged to serve only chicken raised without antibiotics by 2017. Subway, which rolled out its first antibiotic-free sub today, has announced plans to be completely antibiotic-free by 2025.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year 2 million Americans contract an antibiotic resistant infection, and around 23,000 people die. Experts warn that to truly tackle this issue, other tactics must be employed; physicians need to slow down the rate of unnecessary prescriptions for people and new drugs need to be developed. But reducing the use of these drugs in our food supply is expected to be an important step for slowing the spread as well.


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