Seven months ahead of schedule, McDonald’s USA today announced that it is only serving chicken not treated with antibiotics important to human medicine.
The company originally announced its goal of sourcing chicken raised without such antibiotics in March of 2015. The idea was to make these changes by March 2017, but thanking the collaboration of suppliers and farmers, the company announced the change today.
“More than ever, people care about their food – where it comes from, what goes into it and how it’s prepared,” said Mike Andres, president, McDonald’s USA, in a release. “We’re making changes to ensure the food we’re proud of is food our customers love and feel good eating, and we remain committed to our continuing food journey at McDonald’s.”
The move away from using antibiotics important to human medicine is part of McDonald’s Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals. According to the criteria outlined in that document, the antimicrobials prohibited are those defined as ‘critically important’ to human medicine by the World Health Organization. In addition, those that are approved as dual use can only be used with a veterinary-developed animal health care program.
Farmers who supply chicken to McDonald’s USA will still be allowed to use ionophores.
“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,” said Marion Gross, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain.
The same change is expected for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada by the end of 2018.