February 25, 2016
Dear Keith Brazeau,
We are heartened and encouraged by In-N-Out Burger's recent statement to the OC Register that the company is "committed to beef not raised with antibiotics important to human medicine," and has asked its suppliers to accelerate "progress toward establishing antibiotic alternatives." This statement appears to be significantly stronger than the earlier statement made in correspondence with our organizations, a statement saying that the company simply supports Federal Drug Administration (FDA) guidance on livestock antibiotics use. As we've indicated in correspondence with In-N-Out Burger, FDA guidance is a flawed policy that continues to allow the daily, routine use of antibiotics on animals to prevent disease likely to occur in crowded, unsanitary living conditions.
Your customers care deeply about addressing antibiotic overuse on livestock. In order for your customers and the public at large to have confidence that the company has a strong antibiotics policy, we urge the company to take the following next steps:
- Publish the company's antibiotics policy on its website, including a detailed description of the alternatives to regular antibiotic use that the company will urge its suppliers to use.
- Define a clear, concrete timeline for phasing out the routine use of antibiotics across all of the company's meat supply chains.
- Act now to end the use of medically-important antibiotics in the production of beef sold in your company's restaurants except as necessary to treat animals diagnosed with an illness.
- Adopt a third-party audit program of your company's antibiotics policy and publicly benchmark results that show progress in meeting the goals described above.
We reiterate that livestock producers should be allowed to administer antibiotics to treat sick animals and that these anmials should not be excluded from your supply chain.
We also want to stress that offering a sustainable, grass-fed beef option is one way the company could quickly respond to customer demand for beef raised without routine antibiotics and other drugs.
Please let us know by Monday of your plans so we can inform our supporters and your customers of the company's antibiotics policy and action the company is taking to address antibiotic overuse in its meat supply chain.
Jason Pfeifle, Public Health Advocate, CALPIRG Education Fund
Kari Hamerschlag, Senior Program Manager, Friends of the Earth
Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director, Center for Food Safety
Elisa Odabashian, Director of West Coast Office, Consumers Union
Vani Hari, Author and Activist, www.FoodBabe.com
INITIAL STATEMENT FROM IN-N-OUT BURGER (2.16.2016)
Dear Mr. Pfeifle:
Our President, Lynsi Snyder, has asked me to respond to your recent correspondence. Thank you for sharing your comments and concerns.
In-N-Out Burger recognizes the critical role antibiotics play in human and animal medicine. Just as humans sometimes need antibiotics for their health, beef cattle sometimes need antibiotics to ensure their health, welfare and to prevent suffering. To that end, we support Food and Drug Administration guidance on the use of antibiotics in livestock which were designed to protect both animal and human health. This guidance increases veterinary oversight of antibiotic administration and phases out the use of medically important antibiotics to promote growth, a process that we also fully support. We are committed to working closely with our suppliers to ensure they follow these science based best practices as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association guidance on antibiotic use in animals. Collectively, these efforts help ensure optimal animal health and welfare, preserve medically important antibiotics for human use, and ensure safe, affordable and abundant food.
Thank you again for contacting us.
Vice President of Quality