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Is Your Kid's Fast Food on Drugs?

Photograph by Getty Images

You pony up $5.50 for a Lilliputian container of organic blueberries and scour the mac and cheese label to ensure the cows responsible for the powdered milk were grass-fed. But according to a new report by Consumers Union, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Keep Antibiotics Working, and Center for Food Safety, even the best-laid plans to keep your kiddos' insides squeaky clean may be thwarted by the chicken nuggets, turkey subs or cheeseburgers you're feeding them while rushing from school to soccer practice.

According to the just-released Chain Reaction report, 70 to 80 percent of antibiotics sold in this country are used on factory farms, enabling "crowded, filthy conditions for animals and drives antibiotic resistance that threatens our health." In a nutshell, these antibiotics keep animals from getting too sick in decrepit conditions; we eat the animals, and those antibiotics find their way inside our bodies. We develop a resistance to them, and then when we get sick—whether it's a run-of-the-mill preschool virus or something more nefarious like MRSA—the drugs we need don't work as well. Et voila: Suberbugs.

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The report investigated the use of antibiotics in poultry and meat in the 25 largest U.S. fast food and fast casual restaurants. Twenty of the 25 failed.

The top five places where you're least likely find Frankenmeat (i.e. these are the best places to eat if antibiotics in your meat and chicken is a concern for you) with their respective "grades":

  • Panera Bread (A)
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (A)
  • Chick-fil-A (B)
  • McDonald's (C)
  • Dunkin' Donuts (C)

These places feature policies ranging from strict prohibitions on any antibiotics use (Chick- fil-A) to policies outlawing the use of antibiotics important in human medicine in chicken (McDonald's).

Panera and Chipotle also adhere to policies that restrict the use of hormones and other growth-promoting drugs, says FOE. Good news if you don't want your LO getting a dose of testosterone every time she bites into a chicken sandwich.

Who received a big fat "F"? (Meaning they either have no disclosed policy on antibiotic use in their meat and poultry supply chains, or their policy fails to phase out the continued regular use of antibiotics.)

  • Applebee's
  • Arby's
  • Burger King
  • Chili's
  • Dairy Queen
  • Denny's
  • Domino's
  • IHOP
  • Jack in the Box
  • KFC
  • Little Caesars
  • Olive Garden
  • Outback Steakhouse Grill and Bar
  • Papa John's Pizza
  • Pizza Hut
  • Sonic
  • Starbucks
  • Subway*
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy's

Sounds like someone needs to design an app that tells parents where the nearest Chipotle or Panera is.

RELATED: Just How Much Salt Is in Your Kid's Fast Food?

If there's no Panera or Chipotle nearby and the little people in yor backseat are clamoring for food, the Chain Reaction report also highlighted a few honorable mentions—smaller or regional chains who "are responding to consumer preferences by offering meat raised without routine use of antibiotics and other drugs. Some also offer organic and grass-fed alternatives. These restaurant chains were not surveyed, as they are not among the largest 25." Shout-outs go to:

  • Shake Shack
  • Elevation Burger
  • BurgerFi
  • Burgerville
  • BGR
  • Farmer Boys
  • Pret A Manger
  • Good Times Burger
  • Carl's Jr.

*Wow, 2015 has not been a good year for Subway. As it turns out, Jared eating a turkey sandwich is basically the least healthy thing ever in the existence of humankind.

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