Subway recently stated in Nation’s Restaurant News that it has been “working toward the elimination of antibiotics” in its products. Although encouraging, the statement falls short of a formal policy with deadlines.

If Subway were to make it clear that it will buy only meat not raised on antibiotics, suppliers will know precisely what’s needed to keep or get Subway as a customer.

Look no further than McDonald’s, which announced a policy March 4 that it would soon switch to antibiotic-free chicken. On April 28, Tyson Foods unveiled its plan to eliminate antibiotics from its chicken.

Is there a connection? Tyson Foods is a major supplier of McDonald’s.

The federal Centers for Disease Control estimates that millions of Americans get sick and 23,000 die from antibiotic-resistant superbugs each year.

Restaurants can put enormous market-based pressure on suppliers to stop overusing antibiotics. We need Subway to join Chipotle, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s and others in doing so.

Matthew Wellington

antibiotics program coordinator, PIRG

on behalf of U.S. Public Interest Research Group

Boston