Friday, 9 December 2016

Internet-connected toys: A #ToyFail with global implications


Amanda Long, Director General at Consumers International, discusses the failure of My Friend Cayla and i-Que dolls to protect consumer privacy and considers what this means for consumers globally. 



The way in which consumers are interacting with the digital world is constantly evolving. With more than 3 billion people now connected to the internet worldwide, there is a growing opportunity for everyday objects to be synced with the web. By 2020, it is forecasted that the number of connected devices will reach 50.1 billion and children’s toys are no exception to this trend.

In the wake of the Norwegian Consumer Council’s #ToyFail report, Consumers International and several of our Members have condemned the miserable failure of My Friend Cayla and i-Que toys to protect consumer data, security and privacy. Not only are these toys dangerously easy for others to gain access to, they are also able to record everything the child says and transfer the recordings to a company that can sell the information on the third parties. 

This irresponsible lapse in consumer protection raises a number of important questions. How has this failure impacted on consumers across the world? What can it tell us about the current gaps between rapid digital innovation and the policies in place to protect consumer privacy and data? How can the global consumer movement use its collective voice to call for change? 

By looking at the manufacturing and distribution network of these toys, it is easy to see that the reach of this issue has no borders. Genesis Toys, the company that produces and develops both the Cayla and i-Que dolls, are based in Los Angeles, California. The products are then manufactured in Hong Kong before being distributed to retailers in the U.S, South Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Scandinavia. British toy company Vivid also distribute the toys to markets in Europe, including the UK, France and Germany. The companion app for the toys is developed by ToyQuest, who have offices across the globe and are partnered with a wide range of licensors including Disney, Nickelodeon and DreamWorks. 

The international reach of these companies is hugely significant. The availability of the toys in a wide range of markets maximises the number of consumers affected by the breaches in security and privacy. The capacity of national consumer protection policies in each market will also differ from country to country, leaving some consumers more exposed than others. 

Digital innovation is undoubtedly a key driver of progress and has the potential to create many opportunities for consumers. The benefits should not, however, come at the expense of the rights of individuals. Consumers must feel that they can use their products safely and securely without concerns that their thoughts, opinions and feelings will be passed on to the highest bidder. Trust should be at the forefront of every relationship between digital providers and consumers. In this case, it would seem that the trust of parents and children using the toys has been undermined. 

It is also essential that companies adopt a design-philosophy that puts safety, privacy and security at the top of their priority list when developing new products. As the speed with which the creation of new technologies and devices accelerates, manufacturers and governments must make sure that their safeguarding of consumer interests keeps up the pace. 

As this story continues to develop, we must ensure that the collective voice of consumers across the globe is heard. Working together with our Members, Consumers International has acted quickly to brief and share engagement tools with consumer organisations in affected markets outside of Europe, enabling them to liaise with the relevant national authorities and media outlets. Regardless of where consumers are based in the world, we are calling for the manufacturers to:

  • Not collect more data than necessary for the functionality of the service
  • Prevent these kind of issues resurfacing by adopting a design-philosophy of privacy and security by design.
  • Make these toys safer by increasing security features in how devices are paired, to stop unauthorised people from connecting to the toy.
  • Stop all direct marketing to children through to apps

By following these guidelines and prioritising consumer protection, digital providers can begin to move towards a world in which consumers can fully benefit from advances in technology without the fear of their rights being eroded.

Sources
- #Toyfail: An analysis of consumer and privacy issues in three internet-connected toys, Norweigan Consumer Council
- Here’s How Many Internet Users There Are, TIME
- IoT: number of connected devices worldwide from 2012 to 2020, Statista

Friday, 18 November 2016

World Antibiotics Awareness Week: Global food brands must take Antibiotics off the Menu

Anna Glayzer, Advocacy Manager at Consumers International, outlines the need for an urgent, global response to the world's escalating antibiotic resistance crisis. 


This week is World Antibiotics Awareness Week. Given the seriousness of the public health crisis we are facing, there are few topics more in need of heightened worldwide awareness than antibiotic resistance. Many people do not realise that we are a few decades away from the end of modern medicine as we know it. By 2050 drug resistant infections will cause 10 million deaths- becoming a bigger killer than cancer is today.

Resistance to antibiotics occurs naturally with use, making it essential that we use these drugs sparingly, for the treatment of disease, where prevention and other methods of treatment have failed. Instead, the irresponsible use of antibiotics is a major driver of resistance.  Farm animals consume two thirds of the world’s antibiotics. These vital drugs are often routinely added to feed to make animals grow faster or to counter unsanitary conditions in factory farming facilities.

This week is also the one year anniversary of the publication of research showing that the threat from Colistin resistance was far greater than previously realised. Colistin is one of the antibiotics on the World Health Organization’s critically important list. It is used in human medicine as a drug of last resort- something to be prescribed when other antibiotics have failed. Colistin resistant infections in food animals and humans are spreading around the world.This is being driven by agricultural use of Colistin, which continues to rise year on year.

Our campaign #AntibioticsOffTheMenu is about calling on global food businesses to end the routine use of all antibiotics included on the World Health Organization’s list of critically important antibiotics. This week we have published an open letter to the CEOs of KFC, Subway and McDonald’s calling on them to make global commitments to end the routine use of all antibiotics included on the World Health Organization’s list of medically important antimicrobials, in all of their livestock supply chains. This means prohibiting suppliers from using these antibiotics for growth promotion or disease prevention and only using these antibiotics when there has been a diagnosis of illness.

Global food brands like KFC, Subway and McDonald’s are in a position to make an impact on the antibiotic resistance crisis, faster than legislation alone. Subway and McDonald’s have already made commitments in North America. In the USA Subway has committed to only source meat and poultry raised on no antibiotics. McDonald’s USA already serves chicken in the raised without the routine use of any of the antibiotics from the WHO list, with McDonald’s Canada soon to follow.

We welcome the progress by Subway and McDonald’s in North America but action in one country or one region is simply not enough. Antibiotic resistance does not respect national boundaries.  Our food and farming systems are more globalised now than ever. Resistant bacteria spread from the guts of farm animals via faeces, air, soil, water, contact with farm workers, contaminated meat.

The response to the antibiotic resistance crisis the world is now facing will need to be multifaceted. Prudent use in human medicine, better hygiene in health care and the development of new drugs will be needed.  We cannot escape public health disaster unless we tackle agricultural use of antibiotics.

The World Health Organization, the UN, the G20, governments, scientists, consumer and environmental advocates, academics and medical professionals all over the world are calling for urgent action to stop the threat of antibiotic resistance.  Global, consumer facing food brands should act now, and act globally.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Taking global action to end childhood obesity

Hannah Brinsden, Head of Advocacy & Public Affairs at the World Obesity Federation, discusses childhood obesity ahead of World Obesity Day 2016


This year World Obesity Day, which takes place on 11th October, is focusing on childhood obesity. The message is simple:  Governments need to up their game and urgently take leadership and comprehensive action to end childhood obesity.

In the last decade, childhood overweight and obesity has risen significantly around the world. Figures from 2013 show that approximately 222 million school-aged children globally are overweight or obese and our latest estimates suggest that this number is set to rise by about 20% by 2025. The impact of this is not to be underestimated. Not only does it put our children’s future health at risk but it impairs their immediate health, increasing their risk of type 2 diabetes, raised blood pressure and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This puts our already struggling health systems under more strain. This is preventable and the need for action is unquestionable, but what will it take for the required action to be taken?

Obesity is a chronic form of malnutrition and in many low- and middle-income countries it is often found alongside undernutrition. This means that nutrition policies that promote healthy growth, ensure household nutrition security and protect children from marketing and advertising of foods which have low nutritional quality will be an essential part of our efforts to end childhood obesity.

Arguably we’ve come a long way in nutrition policy over the last few decades. More and more countries are starting to implement marketing restrictions, school meal guidelines, interpretative nutrition labelling and sugar taxes. But it’s not nearly enough. While best practices can be found, very few countries have implemented the full package of multi-sectoral policies. This is despite extensive research and repeated recommendations for action in this area, most recently in the report of the WHO’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity

So why the resistance? Some of this will be due to a lack of capacity, in other cases a result of the prioritisation of other issues. But in most cases it comes down to an issue of political will. Not so much a lack of political will to protect the health of our children, I think you’d be hard pushed to find someone who would admit to that (!), but a lack of political will to challenge the commercial drivers of our unhealthy food environments. This leaves governments exposed to weak and voluntary policies and a leniency in favour of private interests rather than the public good. As a result, childhood obesity, and indeed adult obesity, continues to rise.

If we are to improve the global state of nutrition, strengthen national food sovereignty and reduce childhood obesity we need to consider something different and more far-reaching. If we are to have hope of change, we need to explore legally-binding frameworks to protect and support governments, particularly in regional economic areas and smaller nations. Having a legally binding mechanism would help to define minimum nutritional standards to drive commercial food markets and the operation of global food trade. Further, it would help governments to enact the policies required to end childhood obesity and would help to protect governments and citizens from commercial interests and food markets which often undermine efforts to protect health.  

So this World Obesity Day, we are calling on governments around the world to fulfil their commitments made earlier this year and to take urgent action to end childhood obesity. We must also explore the mechanisms that will be required to effectively implement such a comprehensive package of policies. A legally binding framework to protect diets isn’t about hindering governments, it’s about supporting them in taking the required steps, as difficult as they may appear, to protect the health of citizens all around the world, and to ensure a healthier future for all. 

For more information about World Obesity Day visit www.obesityday.worldobesity.org

For more information about Consumer International and World Obesity Federation’s calls for a framework to protect and promote healthy diets see here

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

How can consumers make meaningful choices in the digital world?

This week, Amanda Long, Director General of Consumers International spoke at EDPS-BEUC conference on Big Data: Individual Rights and Smart Enforcement [1]in Brussels which brought together issues of competition, consumer protection and data protection.  You can read Amanda’s full speech here. Below is an extract.
Questions of size, power, competition and choice have never been so important to our understanding of consumer protection and empowerment in the digital world.  The reach of so many big internet companies is remarkable: one in two global internet users visit Amazon on a monthly basis[2].  Google has a 71% share of the search market globally, rising to 90% in the European Union[3]. WhatsApp is the top messaging app in 109 countries, or 56% of the world.[4]

Consumers are feeling the direct impact that such large players have on their individual choices: from privacy tools disappearing from app stores[5], or WhatsApp users seeing the service bought out by Facebook, followed by changes to the terms of data sharing [6],  to the impenetrable terms and conditions which people must agree to in order to access digital services[7].  These digital services that quickly link up friends, music, events and travel are convenient and can be great fun but can also feel a bit like a lobster pot - easy to get into but very tricky to get out of.

Many multinational platforms and digital companies have become indispensable to contemporary life, offering high quality, convenient digital interactions. The data monetisation model behind some, where people ‘exchange’ information about themselves for the service with no upfront financial cost, makes for a tantalising offer.   They are the default by which consumers experience and interact with digital - the gateway to the internet if you like: we don’t search, we Google, we don’t make videocalls, we Skype.

The dominance of a small number of firms is significant because people’s choice over whether to engage or not in the digital world is becoming increasingly limited.[8]  If a few large companies effectively become gateways to all the internet has to offer, then we have to ask questions about how their size and dominance impact consumer choice, power and protection?

In the European Union, the prospects of keeping markets competitive and consumers protected are closely tied. It is suggested that competition itself can offer a protection of sorts by creating markets where companies compete for customers on the basis of value, quality and strong consumer credentials. In reality, without a range of options, and without an easy way to move between these options, it is difficult for consumers to sever ties if they are unsatisfied with a particular service. As a result, it becomes very hard to gauge whether people are happy or unhappy with services and the way companies operate. Classic ideas of competition and consumer protection are therefore stretched. 

Looking ahead to the next phase of digital consumption; the internet of things, heavy reliance on a small number of large companies could become even more important.  As well as raising privacy and security issues, the internet of things marks a major change in how we think about consumption, purchase and ownership. This is mostly because of so-called ‘hybrid’ products [9]– where physical products are owned by the customer, yet the presence of software means the device is subject to contract terms and conditions, which could put unexpected limitations on its use or make exiting a contract difficult.

Large established players already marking out territory in the internet of things will have to gather and connect data to as many objects and people as possible to make their connected services thrive. The more data points connected, the more potentially valuable the insights, so drawing in and retaining as many customers as possible will be top of companies’ agenda.  Exercising choice could get harder for consumers, as they lean towards contracting with one company as an easy way of bringing together multiple services. In practice, switching provider by exiting contracts will be time consuming or inconvenient.  Add to this the difficulties in transferring data between suppliers and lock in seems more and more inevitable.
These limitations on choosing between providers are really important for the digital age.  If competition can no longer effectively deliver consumer protection through providing choice, then we need to approach things differently.   In fact there is the real opportunity to forge a positive consumer agenda for the digital age that addresses areas of consumer concern and offers real choice over how to participate.  A complex, integral and dominating set of relationships should not put us off arguing for a fairer and more accountable digital system for consumers.
For example:
-          Data portability and system interoperability – to enable easy transfer between different services, keep different options open, and keep the value of data close to consumer control
-          Smarter use of information, and more transparency on how decisions based on data are made, not just what data is collected.  
-          Innovations that aid consumer understanding and build consumer trust and confidence such as personal data intermediaries. 

The genie is out of the bottle.  Widespread digital technology is here.  There is real potential for consumers to benefit but also a flip side presenting widespread negative consumer outcomes.  It is up to us to work together to ensure that the practices and delivery of large digital companies stand up to the scrutiny and expectations of the people whose lives are so entwined with them.




Friday, 16 September 2016

Overuse of Antibiotics, the Chilean consumer perspective

Speech by Stefan Larenas, President of  Chilean CI Member ODECU at Intelligence Squared debate: The End of Antibiotics? at New York Academy of Sciences, 14th September 2016



I am happy to speak to you on the important topic of preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics. This requires reducing antibiotic use in humans AND in food animal production. And I would like to say I speak here not just for Chilean consumers but also for other Latin American consumer organizations. My organization has been working since 2005 to research products and services and raise consumer awareness in Chile.

We are very concerned that there is very high use of antibiotics in the production of poultry and salmon, both of which are exported as well as consumed within Chile.

In poultry production, according to research by a Chilean university, colistin is the main antibiotic used in pork and poultry production preventatively. In Chile, this drug has the approval of the Agriculture and Farming Service.

We are concerned, as public health officials are all over the world, about recent data showing resistance to colistin in both food animals and in sick people. Colistin is an antibiotic doctors use when everything else fails. If resistance develops to this antibiotic too, in some situations doctors will be left with nothing to treat a sick patient.

Antibiotic use in salmon production, which is a very big industry in Chile, is also extremely high, much higher than in other countries. In Chile in 2013, more than 500,000 kilograms of antimicrobials were used in salmon production.

Whereas in Norway, which produced almost 50 percent more salmon, the industry used only 972 kilograms of antimicrobials. This is a shocking difference. The Chilean industry uses more than 900 times as much antimicrobials per kilogram of salmon as Norway does. Most disturbingly, a Norwegian company operates salmon farms in Chile. Why don’t they use the same standards and practices?

Because of our concerns, the Chilean consumer organization is participating in the Consumers International campaign, called “Antibiotics Off the Menu”, to persuade global fast food chains McDonalds, Subway and KFC to eliminate antibiotics, or at least antibiotics important in human medicine, from the food they serve in their restaurants. Consumer awareness of this problem in rising globally—in March of this year 90 consumer organizations joined this campaign.

A new report on US fast food chains, called Chain Reaction 2, is coming out next week. I understand that in North America, McDonald's has completely eliminated all medically important antibiotics in the production of the chicken it serves in its restaurants. Why, I have to ask, have they not done this in South America? This is a double standard. If their suppliers can do this in the USA, one would think they could explain to their suppliers in Chile how to raise chicken without medically important antibiotics.

Overuse of antibiotics is a global problem. Superbugs do not know national borders. When antibiotic resistance emerges in one place it travels rapidly around the world. So while action in the US, or Norway, is vitally important, we also need action in Chile and everywhere else food animals are raised. Antibiotic use must be limited to curing sickness in animals, just as it is in humans, not used to promote growth or prevent disease in factory farming conditions. We hope the nations of the world will take action on this serious problem at the UN High Level meeting on 21st September.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

What do evolving digital financial services mean for consumers? CI co-chairs ITU working group

Jami Solli, Senior Policy Adviser at Consumers International (CI) reports back on CI's involvement in the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Focus Group on Digital Financial Services.

Consumers International is participating in the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Focus Group on Digital Financial Services, which convened telecommunications and financial sector regulators; financial services providers, consumer advocates and other stakeholders beginning in January of 2015.  The Focus Group meets regularly and has the overarching objectives of 1) sharing knowledge; 2) researching good industry practices and; 3) making recommendations which lead to increased uptake of digital money services and thus greater financial inclusion. Consumer trust and consumer protection are inherent and essential to increase consumer use of digital money services globally.  Thus, there is a working group dedicated solely to the topic of the Consumer Experience and Protection.

Participation in the ITU process is normally limited to member state organizations. CI however was invited to join and to co-chair the working group on consumer protection due to its unique status as the only body for consumer interests globally. The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) is also co-chair of this group and has actively supported the initiative by utilizing its internal resources to aid research in a variety of countries on related digital money topics. (see www.CGAP.org for related research on digital money)

The next meeting of the four working groups which comprise the ITU’s Focus Group on digital financial services will be in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from September 19 – 22nd, hosted by the Bank of Tanzania (the central bank of the country).

Thanks to support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CI has been able to provide a travel grant to support the participation of several of CI’s African members in the upcoming meetings. Members will attend from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Namibia, as well as from the host nation Tanzania. For 2016, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also been supporting CI’s participation in the Focus Group.

The discussions have been complex and in depth over the past year and a half. While the advent of new mobile money products and, more importantly, increased competition from new financial services providers like telecoms, has definitely shaken up the status quo for under served and previously unbanked consumers, it has also served to highlight that many consumer protection challenges remain; albeit in new forms.  Old problems like a lack of transparency, limited access to redress and over reaching by providers (e.g. when defaults occur on credit products) still linger.  With the advent of new technology, new problems have emerged such as increased risk of fraud and thus loss of funds by the consumer and poor data protection and privacy. Just to provide two examples, consumers and their PINS are easily separated leading to fraud. Second, where ponzi schemes used to be based on individual face to face transactions with charismatic sellers, now with mobile money one transaction can defraud a much greater volume of victims. A further problem reported to us by African colleagues is the death of an account holder leading to the freezing of the account due to loss of the PIN number. 

In countries which have seen a surge in mobile money products and usage, frequently the market leaders are telecoms. These early market leaders, such as M-Pesa in Kenya, M-Pawa in Tanzania, G-Cash in the Philippines and B-kash in Bangladesh have had initial success providing primarily over the counter, cash in and cash out services through a dense network of agents, who may or may not work exclusively for the financial services provider. Consumers in these countries find mobile money to be extremely useful and economic for person to person (P2P) transfers and bill payment, such as in Kenya where two-thirds of the adult population uses mobile money on a regular basis. In Tanzania, where M-Pawa got off to a later start, the figure is 50% of all those with mobile phones using mobile money. Lately Governments such as Peru and India have also started to use mobile money for government benefits payments, thereby cutting down on consumer queuing and graft.

Clearly, mobile money products are popular and useful to consumers. However, the legacy of financial consumer protection abuses mentioned above, paired with the new problems associated with delivery of services by agents and increased potential for fraud and data privacy breaches, require an even closer eye by regulators and consumer advocates. Further, cross sector regulatory collaboration needs to improve (often financial, telecommunications and competition authority mandates are simultaneously implicated, but action is taken by none).

Regulators therefore must work individually and in collaboration with one another to establish equal coverage of different digital money provider types, and ensure consumer protection provisions apply to all financial products that use e-money. Regulations should require that the intended consumer protection outcomes for digital money are at least as good, or dare we say better, for consumers than for traditional banking.

Additionally, Regulators should put in place appropriate supervision and market monitoring measures as the basis for holding providers accountable. These should include standardized reporting requirements. Regulators should also consider using consumer research, such as mystery shopping and SMS surveys, for diagnostics, market monitoring and supervision. Regulators should consider partnering with consumer bodies to keep many eyes on this new market.

Thus, the upcoming meeting in Dar es Salaam will serve to discuss and finalize the consumer experience and protection recommendations to the Focus Group at large.  

Specifically we will be finalizing recommendations on the following topics which exist in draft form at present:

1. Contracts and Disclosure/Transparency
2. Quality of services (QoS)
3. Fraud Prevention & Risk of Loss of Funds
4. Agent Conduct
5. Recourse Mechanisms 
6. Data Privacy
7. Recommendations specific to Credit Products


Please let us know if you have any questions or insights from your organization’s research or work on the issue of consumer protection and digital money.  You can direct your input and inquiries to Jsolli@consint.org. Ms. Solli is a senior policy advisor at CI and is the present co-chair of the ITU consumer protection working group.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Averting an antibiotic apocalypse? Time for global restaurants chains to take action

Amanda Long, Director General at Consumers International, reacts to McDonald's recent announcement that it has finished implementing its commitments on chicken in the USA.

Consumers International and its Members are calling on KFC, McDonald’s and Subway to take meat raised on antibiotics important for human medicine off their menus globally.

At the beginning of this month McDonald’s USA announced that it had achieved its goal, of serving only chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, eight months ahead of schedule.  The announcement came in the run up to a UN High Level meeting on anti-microbial resistance, taking place in New York on 21st September.

Because of overuse, resistance to existing antibiotics is rising at alarming levels, and there is a dearth of new drugs being brought to market. Without antibiotics that work, infections, small cuts and minor surgeries could once again become killers.

Left unchecked, antimicrobial resistance (the collective term for resistance to all kinds of antimicrobial drugs, of which bacterial resistance to antibiotics is the most pressing) will kill 10 million a year by 2050 – more than cancer. It is already killing 700,000 a year. We are on the brink of what Professor Dame Sally Davies, UK Chief Medical Officer has called an antibiotic apocalypse

Despite these dire warnings, animals destined to end up in our burgers, sausages and nuggets are being pumped full of antibiotics.  In many cases, rather than being used to treat sick animals, antibiotics are being used to make them grow faster or to prevent the cramped unsanitary conditions they are kept in from making them sick.  The more we use antibiotics, the more bacteria develop resistance to them.

There is strong consensus that measures to limit the use of antibiotics in farming should be a first port of call for the world’s decision makers. The use of antibiotics in farm animals exceeds use in humans in many countries and globally is believed to be more than 50% of use.  In the USA, more than 70% of antibiotics use is agricultural.  Furthermore the use of antibiotics in farming is set to increase by two thirds from by 2030: from 63,200 tons in 2010, to 105,600 tons in 2030.  The rise is driven by our monumental and growing global meat consumption.

So what has McDonalds actually done and will it make any difference?  McDonald’s has ended the use of antibiotics listed as critically important for human medicine by the World Health Organization in its poultry supply in the USA and has pledged to do the same in Canada. 

In taking this action, McDonald’s has gone further than some other chains in the USA.   KFC, which has a larger number of restaurants in the USA than any other chicken chain and is the second highest in sales has not gone as far.  It has said it will stop using just a handful of highest priority critically important antibiotics from the WHO list.   KFC is under increasing pressure to go further.  Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, (also subsidiaries of the Yum! Brands) have recently committed to serving chicken to its US customers raised without any of the antibiotics from the full WHO list. On 9 August, Yum! investors filed a shareholder resolution calling for KFC to follow suit.

On the other hand, there are chains in the USA that have gone further than McDonald’s.  Whereas McDonalds has only taken this action for the chicken it serves, Subway has committed to using chicken, turkey, beef, and pork raised without any antibiotics.  In a report from a coalition of consumer and environmental groups last year Chipotle, Panera and Chick-Fil-A, were given A and B grades for their antibiotic policies whereas McDonald’s was given a C.

The fact remains however, that these global chains are failing to make the same commitments outside of the USA. Whilst it is commendable that McDonald’s has acted in the USA and Canada, where around 43% of its branches are located, it has not committed to act on pork or beef and has not made the same commitment on chicken in other parts of the world.  McDonald’s in Europe has said that it will stop the use of some important antibiotics in the chicken it serves, but fails to go as far as McDonald in the USA and McDonald in Canada.   KFC and Subway have yet to make announcements anywhere outside of North America.

Of course we welcome any progress in this area and we don’t suggest that the sole power to prevent an antibiotic apocalypse rests entirely with a few fast food chains – but these are significant players and can lead the way.  When world leaders meet at the UN in September we will need strong, concerted, action on all fronts; including reducing use of antibiotics in human health and animal health and tackling the development of new drugs.

Given the scale of the global public health crisis the world is facing now due to antibiotic resistance, making partial commitments is simply not an option.  There is no plan B.

KFC, McDonald’s and Subway can and must go further. As awareness of the threat we are facing grows among consumers and politicians, they will be left with little choice. Far better to commit now, to work to set the standard for their industry globally, than be forced to catch up later.


Join us now in the call to take Antibiotics off the Menu