McDonald's tells suppliers to phase out antibiotics

by Emily Buckley
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OAK BROOK, ILLINOIS, U.S. — McDonald’s Corporation has announced plans that call for its suppliers worldwide to phase out sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics that are also used in human medicine.

Frank Muschetto, senior vice president of Worldwide Supply Chain Management at McDonald’s Corporation said McDonald’s has asked producers that supply over 2.5 billion pounds of chicken, beef and pork annually to take actions that will ultimately help protect public health.

McDonald’s Europe began phasing out growth promoting antibiotics during 2000. At the end of 2001, all European-based suppliers for poultry had eliminated growth-promoting antibiotics for use in chicken feed. In 2001, McDonald’s USA decided to discontinue all uses of the antibiotic class of fluoroquinolones with its poultry supply.

McDonald’s policy will have the greatest effect in the U.S., and seriously undermine the feed industry’s fight to keep antibiotics available for use in feed. The prophylactic and growth promoting use of antibiotics in animal feed is a widely contended issue. According to U.S. feed association, AFIA, who supports their continued — but prudent — use, loss of these products would cost U.S. feed producers and the drug industry millions, while compromising the quality and cost of meat, milk and eggs, with no basis in science for the loss of the products.