Fresh. Local. Sustainable Fast Food?

One of my favorite local companies out of the northwest is Burgerville. This fast food restaurant is one of the few companies whose business model promotes sustainable practices that focus on fresh, local, antibiotic and growth hormone-free food. All of food comes from local suppliers, for example the burgers are made from pastured vegetarian-fed and antibiotic-free beef. The eggs used for breakfast biscuits are from cage-free hens that have never been treated with antibiotics. Even desserts and sides rely on seasonal, local ingredients - blackberry and pumpkin milkshakes are only available in season, as are the onion rings made from Walla Walla sweet onions grown in Washington and Oregon.

Looking at most fast-food places, you have no idea where your meat is coming from. For example, Taco Bell who states “Like all U.S. beef, our 100% premium beef is USDA inspected, then passes our 20 quality checkpoints. After cooking our 100% premium beef, we remove and drain off excess fat. Then we add water for moisture, along with our signature blend of 12 authentic seasonings, spices, and other ingredients - much the same way you prepare taco meat at home.”

 My question is what are the “other ingredients”? And is the meat that Taco Bell is buying containing antibiotics and growth hormones? These are questions we should be asking ourselves before eating at restaurants who are not specific about suppliers of their meat and where is it coming from. Meat that is from suppliers that use growth hormones in livestock increases the chance that heavier doses of antibiotics will be in the meat that is later found in our food. The more we eat food that contains trace antibiotics increases the risk of causing bacteria in the stomach to become more resistant to antibiotics used to treat infections in humans. The CDC has a great infographic that explains how the human body is affected by antibiotics found in meat and in vegetables and when patients are hospitalized they have an increased risk of not being able to fight infections resistant to antibiotics, causing increase in untreatable deaths in people.

Next time you think about eating a meat product from a fast food restaurant, try google searching with the key words meat + antibiotics + the name of the company, you may be surprised what you find and you may reconsider if you want to eat there; here is just a snippet from the McDonald’s website.

Written by: Aurora T.