As Subway moves to reduce antibiotics in chicken, groups call for details and timelines

As Subway moves to reduce antibiotics in chicken, groups call for details and timelines

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. — Following calls to action from US PIRG, Natural Resources Defense Council,  Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Keep Antibiotics Working, Food Animals Concern Trust, Consumers Union and,  Subway appears to be making important updates to its approach on antibiotics use in its meat and poultry supply. The Nation’s Restaurant News reported on August 28 the restaurant chain’s intention to source chicken produced without antibiotics, just days after the kickoff of several high profile campaigns.

Following is a statement by US PIRG, NRDC, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Keep Antibiotics Working, Food Animals Concern Trust, Consumers Union and — all public interest advocates who have been asking Subway to phase out meats produced with routine use of antibiotics:

Subway is taking a positive step forward. We are pleased that Subway is starting to respond to consumer demand to reduce antibiotic use in its meat and poultry supply chain.

However, neither their August 28 statement nor the company’s website language provides sufficient details, concrete timelines, or third-party verification components to constitute a meaningful antibiotics use policy. The company’s lack of transparency — including its refusal to meet with public interest organizations about this issue — leaves a great deal of uncertainty about Subway’s commitment to change.

Subway needs to set clear antibiotics commitments now, as specified in this June 23, 2015 letter, so that their suppliers can meet those goals in the future. These are:

    1. Defining a time-bound action plan to phase out any routine use of antibiotics across Subway meat supply chains.
    2. Acting immediately to end the routine use of antibiotics important for human medicine in the production of chicken sold in Subway restaurants; and
    3. Adopting third-party auditing of its antibiotics use policy implementation and benchmark results to show progress in meeting the goals described above.

If Subway wants to live up to its image as a healthier fast food choice, the company should be a leader in reducing antibiotic use in a meaningful way that inspires consumer confidence.


Communications contacts:
Jackie Wei, NRDC, (310) 434-2325; cell: (347) 874-8305, [email protected]
Katie Andriulli, KAW, (917) 438-4605; cell: (917) 716-5637, [email protected]
Abigail Seiler, CFS, (202) 547-9359, [email protected]
Bill Wenzel, U.S. PIRG, (608) 444-0292, [email protected]
Kate Colwell, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0744, [email protected]

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Center for Food Safety, a national, nonprofit organization with over 700,000 members, was founded to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture.

Consumers Union is the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports.  Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.  Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.

Vani Hari from Food is an activist and New York Times Best Selling author of The Food Babe Way. She was named one of the most influential people on the Internet by Time Magazine because of her ability to steer major food corporations to become more transparent and create more healthful policies.

Food Animal Concerns Trust is a national nonprofit organization based in Chicago that promotes humane and healthy farms through science-based advocacy, consumer education, and support for humane farmers.

Keep Antibiotics Working is a coalition of health, consumer, agricultural, environmental, humane and other advocacy groups dedicated to eliminating a major cause of antibiotic resistance: the inappropriate use of antibiotics in food animals.

U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), the Federation of state public interest research groups, stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and well-being.

Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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