McDonald’s has announced it's committed to serving chicken raised without the use of medically important antibiotics, and will cut antibiotics in chicken from U.S. supply chains within the next two years. The new company CEO has already shown the importance of supplying healthier foods during his legacy in the company’s United Kingdom division, according to NRDC.
“McDonald’s believes that any animals that become ill deserve appropriate veterinary care and our suppliers will continue to treat poultry with prescribed antibiotics, and then they will no longer be included in our food supply,” said Marion Gross, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain.
Farmers will still be allowed to use ionophores, which is technically an antibiotic, but one that’s not important to human health. McDonald’s will verify its products using the USDA Process Verified Program.
“If fewer chickens get sick, then fewer chickens need to be treated with antibiotics that are important in human medicine. We believe this is an essential balance,” Gross added in a statement.
NRDC and other health advocates have long called for ending the industry’s reliance on these highly important medications. By investing in healthier, more responsibly produced chicken, the mega-chain hopes to revive lagging sales as consumers become more and more aware of the food they’re eating.
“Hopefully, chicken is just the start – the Big Mac and McRib may be next. McDonald’s ‘Global Vision’ statement acknowledges the need to curb antibiotics use across their pork and beef supply chains too,” says Jonathan Kaplan, director of NRDC’s Food and Agriculture program. “Unfortunately, the statement does not include a ban on the use of all medically-important antibiotics in routine disease prevention, a practice known to contribute to antibiotic resistance. We urge McDonald’s to close this loophole in their ‘Global Vision’ statement, and to apply their new U.S. chicken antibiotics curbs to all their restaurants globally.”
NRDC hopes the chain’s global leadership will convince other fast food giants to take similar steps toward providing a safer product in addition to reducing antibiotics in chicken. This week McDonald’s USA announced its newly formed U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef, what they claim is the next critical step in sourcing more sustainably raised beef.
“We will continue to look at our food and menu to deliver the kind of great tasting and quality choices that our customers trust and enjoy,” said McDonald’s U.S President Mike Andres.
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