McDonald’s to reduce antibiotic use in beef

McDonald’s has announced its plan for a “phased reduction” of antibiotic use in their beef products. The announcement came on Tuesday, a Phys.org article said.

The chain detailed its three-stage process in which it will conduct a study “of its top 10 beef sourcing markets of current antibiotic use in livestock and by 2020 establish reduction targets,” the article said.

McDonald’s will report its progress in antibiotic reduction initiatives beginning in 2020.

“McDonald’s believes antibiotic resistance is a critical public health issue and we take seriously our unique position to use our scale for good to continue to address this challenge,” said Keith Kenny, McDonald’s global vice president for sustainability, in the article.

As for what has prompted McDonald’s desire to improve the quality of their beef products? Warnings about antibiotic resistance from health professionals, as well as a UN General Assembly resolution in September 2016 that states the need for action to address excessive use of antibiotics.

In Canada, antibiotics are used in raising cattle for three reasons; to treat illness caused by bacteria, to prevent disease, and to better feed efficiency or cattle growth, says a Canada Beef fact sheet.

Antibiotics approved by the Government of Canada are used to control, prevent and treat disease that may arise, only if cattle become ill, or are at an elevated risk of developing an illness, the fact sheet says.

While I am not one who eats McDonald’s (there isn’t much on their menu for us folks who are intolerant to pretty well everything), I imagine people who do will be pleased with this announcement. What’s not to enjoy about a tasty hamburger that’s been made with antibiotic-free beef?

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that antibiotics are sometimes necessary to ensure the well-being of a certain animal. Antibiotics are used to treat livestock when necessary.

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