On Wednesday, the world’s most popular and one of the biggest fast-food restaurant chain announced a new policy to control the number of antibiotics administered to its beef supply. The corporation is none other than the McDonald’s. With their new policy McDonald’s hopes to reduce the usage of antibiotics in the beef supply in its 10 biggest markets which are 85 percent of its beef supply consisting of Australia, United States, New Zealand, U.K, France, Ireland, Germany, Poland and Brazil by 2020. McDonald’s realizes the importance of antibiotic resistance for which it has maintained a framework since 2004.
Poultry business has been doing a lot of advancement when it comes to restricting the use of antibiotics in the industry. A similar policy was made by McDonald’s back in 2015 when it placed a ban on its chicken suppliers from administering antibiotics in the chicken supplied. With this move, McDonald’s has become the first major fast food chain to announce an inclusive antibiotic usage reducing framework for all the beef that is supplied to its restaurants all around the world.
The new policy
In its policy, McDonald’s talks about three major rules that would help in reducing the use of medically important antibiotics food-producing animals:
- The policy says that antibiotics that have medical value for human treatment will not be permitted for the purpose of growth promotion.
- Usage of medically important antibiotics for preventing diseases in animals will not be permitted except in certain cases.
- Usage of important antibiotics for curing diseases in food-producing animals will not be permitted.
However, these rules are subjected to various exceptions too. It must be kept in mind that policy only talks about curbing the use of antibiotics in the beef supply and not a total prohibition altogether.
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- A Pew Charitable Trusts report stated that about around 70% percent of the antibiotics in the United States are used in the animal agriculture sector.
- This move of McDonald’s is major since it works on curbing antibiotic misuse wherein antibiotics are routinely given to food-producing animals rather than treating them the right way. This practice is dangerous to human because it harms and nurtures the growth of antibiotic-resistant pathogens in their body. A study reports that by 2050, approximately 10 million people globally could die every year from drug-resistant infections.
- Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threat to human mankind. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria change and become more resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause.
- Responsible use of antibiotics by meat producers who sell to fast-food restaurants would help in tackling the problem of antibiotic resistance.
- The World Health Organization(WHO) earlier in 2017, had also made a move against the use of antibiotics in animals raised for food. Their new guidelines also recommended for stopping the food industry from using antibiotics for treating animals in order to ensure the efficacy of antibiotics in human beings.
McDonald’s has made an announcement saying that they have been working on control of antibiotics in their food supply for a couple of years now with help of various public health leaders, top beef producers, and veterinarians.