Double Standards: Antibiotic Misuse by Fast Food Companies

March 13, 2018


Given the unrelenting growth of antibiotic use in human healthcare and animals, in particular for intensive food-animal production, the impact of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)— antibiotic resistance (ABR) in particular—will be huge in India. India bears a serious burden of bacterial infections.1 Unsanitary conditions, limited infection prevention and control, poor regulations and implementation, and inadequate health systems add to the problem. Due to high resistance, antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones, macrolides and cephalosporins used to treat common infections of the urinary tract, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract etc. and those used as a last resort in hospitals are increasingly becoming ineffective. India’s rapidly growing fast food restaurant industry, which uses meat raised with antibiotics, is a key contributor in the worsening AMR situation. It can also be a gamechanger in the fight against AMR.

Internationally, fast food chains are under pressure to end antibiotic misuse in chicken, fish and other meat production. In response, they have already come out with measurable objectives and clear-cut timeframes to reduce and eliminate such use in many countries across the globe, including in the US. Yet, when it comes to India, these companies exhibit double standards and are vague about reduction or elimination frameworks and timelines, as this status report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) reveals.