McDonald's Chicken Will Soon Be Free of Human Antibiotics

Move could help fight drug-resistant superbugs
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2015 2:00 PM CST
McDonald's Chicken Will Soon Be Free of Human Antibiotics
McDonald's is changing its policy on antibiotics in chicken.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

As experts warn of the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," one culprit is the drugs used to treat farm animals. McDonald's is now taking a step to fix the issue: The restaurant chain's US operation will no longer use chicken that's been treated with human antibiotics, Reuters reports. The company plans to make the change within two years. "We're listening to our customers," says an executive, noting that the chain will cooperate with suppliers like Tyson Foods in the effort. McDonald's, Reuters notes, is the biggest restaurant chain on earth, and the shift could be a "tipping point for antibiotic use in the poultry industry," says an expert.

Just three days ago, McDonald's got a new CEO, Steve Easterbrook, the Wall Street Journal reports. Easterbrook has said he wants to turn McDonald's into a "modern, progressive burger company," calling himself an "internal activist." The restaurants will still use chicken that is treated with ionophores, antibiotics used only on animals; that puts McDonald's a step behind Chipotle and Panera Bread. Chick-Fil-A has also announced plans to halt the use of chicken raised using antibiotics within five years, the Journal notes. McDonald's changes, at least for now, don't apply to its operations outside the US. (A new drug offers more good news in the fight against superbugs.)

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