Food and Nutrition

If You’re Going to Get a Fast-Food Burger, Choose One of These Antibiotic-Free Options

Kells McPhillips

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Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
Sometimes, finding balance in your food choices means breaking a kale salad lunch streak with a juicy, made-to-order burger topped with all the fixins. But if you want that first mouth-watering bite to be as healthy as possible, the Chain Reaction scorecard—a national ranking of fast-food chains based on their antibiotics policies and practices—just knocked about 23 names off your drive-thru options.

According to the report, which graded 25 of the country's largest burger chains based on their use of antibiotics, road-trip mainstays including McDonald's earned a big fat "F" from organizations like Center for Food Safety, Consumer Reports, and other organizations concerned with food health. And, on the other hand, Shake Shack and BurgerFi, came out as the frontrunners as the *only* two restaurants to earn an "A". To reach these results, the food safety experts assessed each chain's policies based on whether they raised the meat with or without the routine use of antibiotics, then gave out bonus points if the restaurant asked a third party to verify their antibiotic-free practices as well.

About 43 percent of medically-important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are funneled into the beef industry. Munching on a patty made from such meat could make your body antibiotic-resistant.

If you're wondering why antibiotic-treated bovine is an issue in the first place, here's why: About 43 percent of medically-important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are funneled into the beef industry (more than any other variety of meat). Munching on a patty made from such meat could make your body antibiotic-resistant. “When antibiotics stop working, diseases become harder to treat, life-saving surgeries riskier to perform, and a scrape on the knee can even turn deadly,” says Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives in the advocacy division of Consumer Reports.

The bottom line: Next time you're jonesing for the all-American fat-carb combo hit up one of these healthy options—or make one of your own.

If you prefer your burgers sans-meat, these recipes won't let you down. Plus, the FDA's verdict on the Impossible Burger

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