The Dublin, Ohio-based chain said that it has partnered with Progressive Beef, a program with the Kansas-based Beef Marketing Group that seeks to improve the sustainability of the beef supply.
Wendy’s said that at least 50% of its beef supply will be raised under the program’s standards by 2021.
The standards include providing a safe environment for cattle, using only antibiotics under a supervision of a veterinarian and improving the environmental sustainability of cattle raising.
The move follows the chain’s commitment earlier this year to get all of its beef from Beef Quality Assurance sources—BQA is an industry-led effort to improve the quality of beef on the market.
And the company said that 20% of its beef now come from producers who have tracked and reduced their use of medically important antibiotics in the supply.
Sustainability, and particularly the sourcing of beef treated with human antibiotics, has become a growing battleground in the fast food business. Just this week, Wendy’s rival McDonald’s committed to reducing the use of antibiotics in its own supply chain.
Advocacy groups had been pushing restaurant chains to reduce antibiotic use in beef and pork sources.
Earlier this year, Wendy’s was one of only three fast-food burger chains not to receive a failing grade over policies regarding antibiotic use in a report by a group of advocacy groups. Wendy’s received a D-minus. Both McDonald’s and Burger King failed.
In addition to the commitment on beef, Wendy’s recently said it will only source vine-ripened tomatoes from greenhouse farms by early next year.