McDonald's commits to phased-in reduced antibiotic use across its global beef value chain

McDonald’s has announced a new policy aimed at reducing the overall use of antibiotics important to human health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), across its global beef supply chain.

According to the WHO, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today. McDonald’s says instituting this policy at a global scale is an effort to “preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for human and animal health in the future.”

While a large reduction is the goal, McDonald’s says the first step is measuring and understanding “current usage of antibiotics across a diverse, global supply chain,” saying that there is limited antibiotic usage data available. The first phase of this will begin with its top 10 sources for beef by country. They are, in alphabetical order: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, the U.K, and the U.S.

Next, and by the end of 2020, based on those findings, McDonald’s will establish reduction targets for medically important antibiotics for these markets.

Then, in 2022 McDonald’s commits to reporting progress against antibiotic reduction targets across these top 10 beef-sourcing markets.

McDonald’s has been developing this policy over the past year and a half, while consulting a cross-section of stakeholders from veterinarians, to public health leaders, to the beef producers responsible for taking care of the health of animals within the supply chain.

“Our overall approach to responsible use of antibiotics focuses on refining their selection and administration, reducing their use, and ultimately replacing antibiotics with long-term solutions to prevent diseases and protect animal health and welfare. With this in mind, we remain committed to treating animals when needed,” the company says in a press release.

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