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Fast Food Companies Not Keeping A Check On Antibiotic Use In India


Majority of the multinational fast food companies do not have an India-specific commitment to curb the use of antibiotics in their meat supply chains according to the release by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). Earlier this year, Burger King had stepped up to eliminate the use of antibiotics in the chicken served in their outlets in the country.

Double Standards Of Fast Food Chains

The study that lays focus that the multinational fast food brands have ambitious, specific and time-bound commitments to countries like the US, was released by the CSE at the start of the ‘World Antibiotic Awareness Week’ according to the reports by The Hindu. The study further says that this is double-standard is due to the pressure put on them by regulators and stakeholders to stop using antibiotics in animals raised for food supplies. This is not the first time that use of antibiotics in food animal production as the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy of India had also raised concerns recently.

“Fast food multinational companies have adopted double standards, said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of the CSE to The Hindu. “They have come out in the open and shown commitment to stop antibiotic misuse in the US and other countries, but have not taken any concrete steps in India. They do not seem to care about the Indian consumer and are not keen to cut down on their contribution to the rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in this country.”

Zero Response From Major Brands

“McDonald’s, which has over 300 outlets in India and is very popular especially among kids, has no plans of eliminating even the ‘highest priority critically important antibiotics’ in India at least for the next 10 years. These antibiotics are extensively used in India and must be preserved for human use. The company plans to stop using these in many countries by 2019. However, it did not respond to our queries in India,” added Mr. Bhushan while talking to the publication.

According to The Hindu, the CSE had called for reports from 11 foreign multinationals and three of the brand which are based in India to study their policies to curb the antibiotic misuse from happening in their supply chains. “Seven multinational brands and one Indian brand did not respond to us at all. While some others shared their practices of sourcing and testing, they did not specify any timelines by which they planned to eliminate antibiotic misuse,” said Amit Khurana, head of Food Safety and Toxins programme, CSE to the publication.

With the World Health Organisation also laying emphasising by changing its guidelines to keep the use of antibiotics minimalistic in food animal production, the issue has rising global concerns. To that end, the CSE has demanded that the fast food chains should make stringent policies which are time-bound with specific commitments regarding the use of antibiotics.