Subway Takes First Step to Offer Antibiotic-Free Meat Products

Mar 02, 2016 05:00 AM EST | By Chandan Das

Last year, Subway promised to plans to switch to antibiotic-free meat over the next several years following pressures from advocacy groups. Taking the first step in this direction, the fast food chain has started selling chicken sandwich prepared in rotisserie style from March 1. Henceforth, Subway will serve white-meat chicken raised without antibiotics and free from any artificial flavor or color.

In fact, Subway has set a target of achieving 100 percent antibiotic-free foods in the United States by 2025. Moreover, the fast food chain plans to serve chicken products without any antibiotics by the turn of 2016 and completely antibiotic-free turkey products by the next few years. In the final phase of its long journey, the company plans to sell all pork and beef that haven't been raised on antibiotics between 2020 and 2025, CNBC reported.

The media outlet quoted Subways' corporate dietitian Lanette Kovachi saying that they have always endorsed "nutrition transparency" and tried their best to keep the customers informed about the nutrition values of foods marketed by the company. The company further stated that they are converting to sell antibiotic-free meat products following customer demands.

The decision to convert to antibiotic-free meat comes in the wake of several groups like the Center for Food Safety, Natural Resources Defense Council, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Friends of the Earth and noted food blogger Vani Hari launched an extensive campaign to pursue Subway to vow that it would only be purchasing meat produced without antibiotics, and also commit a timeline to achieve it, Huffington Post reported.

It has been often found that livestock producers administer antibiotics to their poultry, cattle and hog with a view to facilitating their growth as well as to prevent keep them disease-free. However, this practice has turned out to be a major public health issue, as officials have warned that this may make the microbes drug-resistant, thereby rendering the medications ineffective for treating diseases in humans.

Meanwhile, Jared Fogle, longtime spokesman for Subway, was recently awarded a 15-year prison term for enjoying child pornography and for paid sex with underage girls. The fast food chain has already disassociated with Fogle soon after the charges became public. This, plus other issues have prompted Subway, which runs over 27,000 restaurants throughout the United States, to refurbish its image in the market.

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