California's favorite fast food joint just got a little more Californian. In-N-Out Burger announced that the company will be moving away from serving meat raised on antibiotics at its more than 300 locations. While In-N-Out has yet to confirm the date by which it intends to have completely phased out antibiotic-laden beef, consumer safety groups are excited nonetheless.
For years antibiotics have been used in the raising of livestock as a means to speed up weight gain and in a preventative attempt to fend off bacterial infections. One of the major problems being, of course, that many of the same antibiotics are depended upon by humans to fend off disease. The heavy use in livestock leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant strands of bacteria.
In a statement reported by Reuters, Vice President of Quality Keith Brazeau spoke to the company's intentions.
"Our company is committed to beef that is not raised with antibiotics important to human medicine," noted Brazeau, "and we've asked our suppliers to accelerate their progress towards establishing antibiotic alternatives."
Reuters further notes that in ditching meat raised with antibiotics, In-N-Out would be catching up to other chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, Panera Bread Co and Shake Shack Inc. For public health advocate Jason Pfeifle of consumer advocate group CALPIRG, the announcement couldn't come soon enough.
"It's time for the company to set a strong antibiotics policy that will help push the meat industry to do the right thing for public health," Pfeifle told Reuters.
The burger joint opened its first location in Southern California in 1948, and that Baldwin Park spot was (legend has it) California's first drive-through burger stand.