In response to World Consumer Rights Day 2016, consumer advocacy organisations the world over are pressing major fast food chains to take antibiotics off their menus.

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Antibiotic resistance constitutes a global public health crisis to which the overuse of antibiotics in farming is a major contributing factor. Despite this, the use of antibiotics in agriculture is predicted to grow by two thirds: from 63,200 tons in 2010 to 105,600 tons in 2030.

Consumers International says that If urgent action is not taken to tackle antibiotic resistance we could face a future where common infections and minor injuries can again become lethal.

World Consumer Rights Day will see consumer organisations petitioning companies, undertaking marches, holding public events and running targeted social media campaigns.

Consumers International and its members are calling on KFC, McDonald’s and Subway to make global time bound commitments to stop serving meat from animals routinely given antibiotics that are classed as important for human medicine by the World Health Organization. McDonald’s has made such a commitment on chicken in the USA and Canada. Subway has committed to stop serving meat from any animal given antibiotics in the USA. KFC has made no meaningful commitments anywhere.

“This World Consumer Rights day is about calling for major global brands to act responsibly,” Amanda Long, Consumers International Director General said. “Antibiotic resistance is spreading in every region of the world. Left unchecked, antimicrobial resistance will kill 10 million a year by 2050. Given the scale of the global public health crisis the world is facing due to antibiotic resistance, making partial commitments is inadequate. KFC’s efforts have been token and McDonald’s and Subway must go much further. As global brands these fast food chains are in a strong position to set the standard for their industry globally and drive a decrease in agricultural use of antibiotics, faster than legislative change alone.”

World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated annually on 15th March. It marks the anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s address to the US Congress on 15 March 1962, in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so.

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