McDonald's to remove antibiotics from chicken
McDonald’s USA says that within two years, it will only buy chickens raised without antibiotics. This is in response to increasing evidence that the overuse of antibiotics for poultry may diminish their effectiveness in fighting disease in humans.
While veterinary use of antibiotics is a legal practice and has been used by poultry producers since the 1940s, consumer advocates and public health experts have become more critical of the practice of routinely feeding antibiotics to chickens, cattle and pigs. They contend that that may help superbugs develop resistance to antibiotics used to fight infections in humans. The poultry industry's lobby argues that there is little evidence that bacteria which do become resistant also infect people.
The exception to McDonald’s new policy is that the company will buy chicken from farmers who use ionophores, an animal antibiotic not used in human medical treatment.
The phase-out of chickens raised on antibiotics will apply only to McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants, but not the company's 22,000 international restaurants.