"These drugs have historically been given to animals that are not sick, to accelerate weight gain and prevent disease in crowded and unsanitary industrial farming conditions," wrote the authors, who come from six public interest groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council
, Consumers Union
and the Center for Food Safety.
While regulations and consumer pressure have encouraged some chains to cut back on the use of antibiotics, some experts worry it's not enough to stave off development of "superbugs" that can't be killed by some of our current medicines. These bugs may get into our meat and produce
"If we don't rein in this pattern of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, what we will see is half a century of medical progress reversed," said Lena Brook
, a food policy advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She has served as a lead expert on the report for each of the past three years.
Despite nearly half of restaurants receiving a failing grade, this is an improvement over the 16 that failed last year
, the authors said.
"It's a rapid shift that we've seen in just a few short years, and that leaves me really hopeful," Brook said.