Starbucks officially completed its transition to only serve chicken and turkey raised without the use of antibiotics in all of its U.S. company-operated stores, two years ahead of its goal. Starbucks serves more than 14 million customers a day and U.S. PIRG applauds the breakfast and coffee mogul for using its purchasing power to protect public health.
“Whether you visit Starbucks for your morning coffee or as your lunch destination, their commitment to only serve poultry raised without antibiotics helps shape a future where antibiotics remain effective for treating sick people and animals,” said Elise Orlick, WashPIRG Foundation Director.
This year, Starbucks received a “D” on a national scorecard written by U.S. PIRG Education Fund and other organizations titled the Chain Reaction Report, which grades top U.S. fast food and fast casual chains on their antibiotics policies. The company committed to no longer source poultry raised with routine antibiotic use in 2017, but failed to report on progress toward implementing that goal and did not return this year’s survey, so it was downgraded from the previous year. This public announcement that the company fulfilled its commitment shows that Starbucks has made good on its promise to cut antibiotic use.
Starbucks originally sought to eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics for disease prevention within the company’s poultry supply chain, but the coffee icon has exceeded that goal by working with suppliers to source poultry raised without any antibiotic use. Starbucks joins the ranks of other top fast food companies like Chick-Fil-A and KFC who have committed to only serve meat raised without overusing antibiotics.
“Companies, like Starbucks, with tremendous purchasing power are recognizing their ability to protect public health and shape the market,” said Orlick. “We are thrilled to see Starbucks through on its antibiotics commitment and urge other restaurants that lag behind like Olive Garden to make the switch.”
It is estimated that in in the United States, 70 percent of medically important antibiotics are sold for use in meat production, and they’re often given to animals that aren’t sick. Health experts, including the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics, warn that overusing antibiotics to produce meat contributes to the rise and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.