Shake Shack And BurgerFi Lauded, But Old Staples Burger King And McDonald's Get Failing Grades; Wendy's Not Much Better

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some of the country’s largest fast food burger chains are getting failing grades because of what’s in the beef.

Environmental groups say dozens of restaurant chains are using meat containing antibiotics, CBS2’s Reena Roy reported Wednesday.

“I am pretty conscious of my diet. I eat a lot of vegetables and organic-type things,” Carmen Scalfani said.

So when Scalfani learned that his favorite fast food spot, Shake Shack, only uses beef raised without antibiotics, he was thrilled.

“Sure, it always helps to know quality is king,” Scalfani said.

shake shack featured image Whats In The Beef Matters: Consumer Groups Come Down Hard On Burger Joints Using Antibiotics

Shake Shack burger (Photo: Shake Shack)

Shake Shack and BurgerFi were the only two fast food restaurants to earn an “A” for serving beef raised without the use of antibiotics.

“Beyond just the no antibiotics is you get a better meat and a better protein at the end of the day, which gives us the best burger we can get,” Shack Shack executive Jeffrey Amoscato said.

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Public health experts are concerned about antibiotic overuse, and a new report from consumer groups and environmentalists looked at the practices of the top 25 burger chains. They gave 22 restaurants, including Burger King and McDonalds an “F.”

Wendy’s got a “D-” because it buys some beef from a supplier that uses reduced antibiotics.

“The problem of antibiotic resistance, which comes from overuse of antibiotics, both in humans and animals, is a crisis at this point,” said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumer Reports.

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The authors of report see the widespread use of antibiotics in meat production leading to the spread of drug resistant superbugs. The chicken industry recently came under fire for antibiotic use, prompting pledges from big chains, including McDonalds, Panera and Chipotle, to use chicken raised without antibiotics.

McDonalds said it’s working to roll out an antibiotics policy for beef by the end of the year.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association told CBS News: “The beef industry promotes the judicious use of antibiotics to keep potential risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria extremely low.”

According to Consumer Reports, 59 percent of people would pay more for a burger that was raised without antibiotics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die each year.