In-N-Out Burger, the popular West Coast-based burger joint, promises quality in every bite. Potatoes are sliced in-house for French fries, buns are baked throughout the day from slow-rising sponge dough, and ground beef is always fresh, never frozen. With only burgers, fries, and milkshakes, the simple menu promises no BS. We admit—we’ve endured long lines for an “animal-style” burger—and it was totally worth it.

While we may love In-N-Out’s commitment to freshness, we realize it doesn’t speak to how their ingredients are sourced. In past years, the company has been associated with Harris Ranch, a mega California beef factory farm that’s believed to have inspired Michael Pollan’s evocative book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Last week, due to increased pressure from public health activists, In-N-Out announced its plans to transition to hormone-free beef. Here’s what Keith Brazeau, the company’s VP of quality, had to say:

“Our company is committed to beef that is not raised with antibiotics important to human medicine, and we’ve asked our suppliers to accelerate their progress toward establishing antibiotic alternatives.”

Activist group CALPIRG argued that Brazeau’s statement was not definitive enough. CALPRIG describes itself as a consumer group working to combat the influence of powerful special interests on behalf of consumers. In an open letter to In-N-Out, the group pushed for a more concrete plan and better-established timeline.

However, in the midst of many fast food chains cleaning up their acts, we see In-N-Out’s pledge as a positive step. Panera, Chipotle, and Subway are committed to serving antibiotic-free meat, while both McDonald's and Chick-fil-A have promised to phase out chicken raised with human antibiotics. Our food system is far from perfect, but we’re thrilled to see the call for responsibly-sourced ingredients on the rise.

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