Sandwich restaurant chain Subway revealed that it intends to stop serving meat and poultry from animals that have been raised with the use of any antibiotics at all of its restaurants in the United States. The antibiotic-free policy was announced on October 20.
Under the new policy, the restaurant chain confirmed that it will transition to only serving chicken raised with no antibiotics of any kind in early 2016, departing from a statement made earlier in 2015 that the company would switch to serving chicken from birds raised without the use of antibiotics deemed important in human medicine. The chain also announced it would start serving turkey raised without antibiotics in 2016 and completely transition to turkey raised without antibiotics within 2-3 years.
All beef and pork served in the restaurant chain will be antibiotic-free by 2025.
“Today’s consumer is ever more mindful of what they are eating, and we’ve been making changes to address what they are looking for,” said Dennis Clabby, executive vice president of Subway’s Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC). “A change like this will take some time, particularly since the supply of beef raised without antibiotics in the U.S. is extremely limited and cattle take significantly longer to raise. But, we are working diligently with our suppliers to make it happen.”
“Given the size and scope of the Subway brand, this commitment is the largest of its kind in the restaurant industry,” added Clabby. “We hope that this commitment will encourage other companies in our industry to follow our lead, and that, together, this will drive suppliers to move faster to make these important changes for consumers.”
Subway, headquartered in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has more than 27,000 restaurants in the United States.
The announcement comes just one month after Subway received a failing grade on its antibiotics policy in the report, Chain Reaction: How Top Restaurants Tate on Reducing Use of Antibiotics in Their Meat Supply. The reportwas prepared by a coalition of groups, including Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Keep Antibiotics Working and Center for Food Safety.