In a press release on Monday, McDonald’s fast food chain announced they are committing to serving customers antibiotic-free chicken.
The move comes as the company appoints a new CEO. Steve Easterbrook, who took over the position Monday, hopes to have the world’s largest fast food chain serving antibiotic-free chicken to all of their US customers within two years.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), antibiotics are used in human medicine. This announcement marks a large step forward in protecting the effectiveness of important antibiotic treatment for humans.
Director of NRDS’s Food and Agriculture program, Jonahtan Kaplan, issued the following statement:
“This is a landmark announcement in the fight to keep life-saving antibiotics working for us and our children. The country’s largest fast food chain has committed to working with their suppliers to keep these drugs out of the barns used to raise the chickens for their nuggets, salads and sandwiches. In doing so, they are setting the bar for the entire fast food industry. If these are verifiable, given this company’s massive purchasing power and iconic brand, we may be at a tipping point for better antibiotic stewardship in the poultry industry.
“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. 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.
“We look forward to working with McDonald’s on a clear path to global leadership in making healthier, more responsibly-produced meat and poultry available to millions of customers around the world.”
McDonalds sells more chicken than beef. Being the largest fast food chain in the US with more than 14,000 restaurants, the move is expected to impact the way poultry is raised and the type of chicken served by other eateries.
In a continuing campaign to offer healthier choices, the company announced that later this year, they will be offering customers a choice between low-fat chocolate milk or milk from cows not treated with rBST, the artificial growth hormone.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to be vocal about their concerns over the use of antibiotics in the animal industry. Each year, more and more pathogens and bacteria are showing resistance to antibiotic drugs.