IRVINE, Calif.—Taco Bell today announced it will stop using antibiotics important to human medicine within a year, in a short statement posted on its website.
In late January, the Natural Resources Defense Council and more than 80 other organizations sent a letter to Taco Bell’s parent company, Yum! Brands, calling on them to improve their antibiotics policies.
Taco Bell’s announcement comes on the heels of similar commitments from other fast food industry leaders—under pressure from the groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council—such as Subway, McDonald’s and Papa John’s.
A statement follows from Jonathan Kaplan, Director of the Food and Agriculture Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“By taking this step, Taco Bell is helping to keep our miracle drugs working when people need them most. The taco giant’s commitment shows the tide in the marketplace is continuing to turn for antibiotics overuse. We look forward to a more detailed plan for making these improvements, including for how consumers will be able to verify that Taco Bell is keeping its word. The company’s fast food peers—and especially its sister restaurant chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken—should take note and follow shortly behind.”
More than 70 percent of medically important antibiotics in the U.S. are sold for use on poultry and livestock.
The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics have warned that in order to keep antibiotics working to treat sick humans, the agricultural industry must stop administering antibiotics to animals that are not sick for growth promotion and disease prevention purposes.
This agricultural misuse is a major driver behind the growing prevalence of drug-resistant infections.