The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
McDonald's to Reduce Antibiotics Use in Beef
In a significant win in the fight to save antibiotics, McDonald's—the largest and most iconic burger chain on the planet—announced Tuesday that it will address the use of antibiotics in its international supply chain for beef by 2021.
"This important step forward raises the bar for other burger chains and sends an unmistakable market signal to beef producers worldwide," said Lena Brook, the interim director of the Food & Agriculture program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "With Washington asleep at the wheel on this rising health threat, leadership in the marketplace is essential."
The company's new policy directs its global suppliers to reduce the use of medically important antibiotics in McDonald's beef, starting with 10 markets around the world, including the U.S. McDonald's is the first—and by far the largest—burger chain to commit to a policy like this for all beef sold at its restaurants. While the chicken industry has been proactive in changing their antibiotics policies, beef companies have taken very little action to address the issue—even though more medically important antibiotics are given to cows than humans, or any other animal.
The problem is dire: Leading medical experts have called antibiotics resistance one of our greatest public health threats. In the U.S., about 95 percent of drugs given to livestock and poultry are given routinely in feed and water—often to animals who are not sick to help them survive crowded and unsanitary conditions on industrial farms. This nonessential use of medicine contributes to the rise and spread of antibiotics-resistant bacteria, ultimately increasing the risk of drug-resistant infections in humans. At least 23,000 Americans already die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Nobody in the world sells more burgers than McDonald's, and its actions can shape the future of the industry," Brook said. "We will be watching closely to make sure this policy goes into action and that its promise is fully realized."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.
By Brenda Ekwurzel
When temperatures hit the 80s Fahrenheit in May above latitude 40, sun-seekers hit the parks, lakes, and beaches, and thoughts turn to summer. By contrast, when temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when those 80-degree temperatures visit latitude 64 in Russia, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother's Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: what is going on here?
By Eoin Higgins
A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.