Early progress in reducing the use of antibiotics in poultry products sold by the world’s largest restaurants and fast food chains must be extended to beef and pork, according to a report released Monday by a group of 71 investors.
The Restaurant Sector and Antibiotic Risk Progress Report, published by the Farm Animal Risk & Return Initiative (FAIRR) and charity Share Action, calls on restaurants and fast food companies to adopt timelines for reductions in antibiotic use in livestock, which it says contributes to antimicrobial resistance responsible for an estimated 700,000 global deaths annually.
“There are signs of improvements, but much more needs to be done,” the report’s authors wrote. “Food companies must take action, both within their own operations and along their supply chains to ensure consistent global policies and practices that apply to all species.”
The FAIRR antibiotics effort was launched in 2016 as a coalition of 54 investors with a combined AUM of $1.24 trillion and has since grown to a $2 trillion group of 71 institutions.
Lauren Compere, managing director of participating investor Boston Common Asset Management, told Agri Investor that investors should view restaurant participation in the initiative as a response to evolving consumer concerns about animal welfare and growing regulatory risk. Officials in the UK, EU and US have all indicated that stricter guidance around use and tracking of antibiotics could come in the future.
In addition, it’s possible that a company refusing to reduce antibiotic use could ultimately risk being shut out from the lucrative supply chains of those which have pledged to do so, such as McDonald’s and Chipotle.
Companies targeted in the initiative include: Brinker International, Mitchells & Butlers, Darden Restaurants, 3G Capital-owned Restaurant Brands International, Domino’s Pizza Group, The Restaurant Group, J.D. Wetherspoon, the Wendy’s Company, McDonald’s Corporation and Yum! Brands.