Know Your Source: Antibiotics in Meat

Something good is happening in the realm of school food

  • In the News
  • March 11, 2015
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​The use of antibiotic-free meats in fast food restaurants has been a prevalent topic in the media lately. McDonalds just announced that by 2018, it will phase out purchases of chickens raised with antibiotics that are important to fighting human infections. Fast food is starting to take note, but what are schools doing to move away from serving antibiotic-raised meat to our children? 

Six of the country’s largest school districts in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade County, and Orlando County recently announced that soon they will be serving only antibiotic-free chicken to their students. The six districts, which feed 2.6 million children, are demanding that meat suppliers who can’t meet the new standards provide them with a written plan for when they will be able to. The group will also require poultry to be raised on all-vegetarian diets as well as in accordance with the National Chicken Council’s humane standards.

These six districts, collectively known as the Urban School Food Alliance, join a growing group of school districts across the country that are taking steps to protect not only the health of their students, but the health of future generations to come.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern among scientists and medical professionals around the world. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, such as CRE, is directly linked to the overuse of antibiotics in food production, as well as over-prescription among doctors. And there is increasing evidence that “sub-therapeutic” use of antibiotics in meat production may cause health risks to consumers. 

School districts across the country are taking small and large proactive steps to increase the amount of antibiotic-free meat they are serving to their children. From switching to antibiotic-free hotdogs on the lunch menu to implementing a multi-district policy regarding poultry, schools are increasing demand for meat from animals raised responsibly.

Here at the Chef Ann Foundation, we support schools that want to transition to meat raised with responsible antibiotic use. On The Lunch Box, we show school districts how to take those first steps. We’re also working on building awareness among parents and school food advocates regarding the key issues at stake. One important tip is to know where your meat comes from and how it is produced. 

​That’s why we’re participating in 1% For The Planet’s campaign to encourage you to Know Your Source. Since the campaign is focused on food this month, we’re asking everyone to take a pledge to know where their food comes from, to understand how it’s produced, and to learn about the environmental and health impacts. 

Please join us an others who have taken the pledge to Know Your Source. The more Food Truth we uncover—including where our meat comes from and how its raised— the more informed our decisions will be. 

To learn more about antibiotic resistance and industrial farming practices that contribute to it, check out the documentary Resistance.

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