Consumer NZ: Stop using antibiotic-filled meat

  • 16/03/2016
Consumer NZ: Stop using antibiotic-filled meat

Fast food chains need to move away from serving meat from animals raised on antibiotics, Consumer NZ says.

The consumer advocacy group has joined global calls for the likes of McDonald's, KFC and Subway to make schedules to stop using products from animals routinely treated with antibiotics used to treat humans as well.

They say the use of the medicines increases the risk of bacteria becoming immune to treatment and then jumping to people -- and that big-name chains can stop the practice by using their buying power.

Consumer NZ chief Sue Chetwin said the use of antibiotics in agriculture in New Zealand was low compared to other countries, but still a serious issue.

"Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to health and requires concerted action. The food industry has an important part to play," she said.

Ms Chetwin said while Subway plans to phase out meat from antibiotic-treated sources by 2016 in the US - their pledge to do so in New Zealand still had no fixed date.

And while McDonald's says it will source its chicken from antibiotic-free sources from 2017 in the US, it had made no commitment in NZ.

KFC had yet to set a schedule anywhere, she said.

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat diseases in animals, particularly in the dairy, pig and poultry industries in New Zealand.

Between 2009 and 2011 use of antibiotics in agriculture fell by 19 percent in New Zealand but the sales of some antibiotics used in humans as well rose.