“I’ll have the burger, hold the penicillin.”

“Future historians, I hope, will consider the American fast food industry a relic…of attitudes, systems, and beliefs…that embodied its limitless faith in technology, that quickly spread across the globe, flourished briefly, and then receded, once its true costs became clear and its thinking became obsolete.”

― Eric Schlosser

“…faith in technology…[until] its true costs became clear…”

Why is it we – at least here in the States – blithely accept what Corporate America assures us is either okay or for our best, and only later – after full academic and scientific analysis – it’s discovered we’ve been misled just so someone could make a profit.

Case in point: Large corporate livestock breeders have for decades routinely used antibiotics in otherwise healthy animals, not to treat but to prevent diseases that routinely occur in closely housed animals, just as contagious diseases frequently occur among humans who live in crowded and squalid conditions. We have been told that by doing so, we consumers are assured of eating safe food, at least undiseased food. That’s true, perhaps, but the primary reason is to keep animals alive and thus keep the rancher from loosing animals and suffering loss to their investment, losing profits.

The unintended reality, however, is that misusing those antibiotics (on healthy animals) has enabled the many pathogens to become immune to the antibiotics that we humans need to destroy our diseases, lest they destroy us and, as a result, we now have diminishing arsenals available; we now have “super bugs” we cannot counteract, they seemingly can mutate faster than we can concoct new drugs to fight them.

Here’s the annual rating by Consumers Union on the most popular eateries. The letter grades indicate to what extent they serve antibiotic-dosed meats. An “A” means none or very little, an “F” means most or all:

A)  Panera, Chipotle
B)  Subway, Chick-fil-A
C+) McDonalds
C)  Wendy’s
C-) Taco Bell
D+) Pizza Hut
D)  PapaJohns
F)  KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sonic, Olive Garden, Denny’s, Starbucks, Jack In The Box, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Chili’s, Little Caesars, Buffalo Wings Bar and Grill, Dairy Queen, Arby’s, IHOP.

The antibiotics injected into otherwise healthy animals by large commercial farms are responsible for the 1 in 5 drug-resistant infections in humans that result in 23,000 deaths a year. Authorities warn that if we continue to abuse these life-saving drugs, in time – soon perhaps – we will see one or more pandemics which we will be helpless to control.

Sad to say, most of my favorite places – Denny’s, Arby’s, Burger King, and Starbucks (although I only get their coffees) – are the worst offenders.

What about yours?

– Bill

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