Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

McDonald's to Reduce Antibiotics Use in Beef

Food
McDonald's to Reduce Antibiotics Use in Beef
garett_mosher / iStock / Getty Images

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."

On Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will be so closely aligned that they will appear as a "double planet." NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory / YouTube

The night sky has a special treat in store for stargazers this winter solstice.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Rough handling can result in birds becoming injured before slaughter. Courtesy of Mercy for Animals

By Dena Jones

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was sued three times this past summer for shirking its responsibility to protect birds from egregious welfare violations and safeguard workers at slaughterhouses from injuries and the spread of the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during Arctic Bird Fest on June 25, 2019. Lisa Hupp / USFWS

By Julia Conley

Conservation campaigners on Thursday accused President Donald Trump of taking a "wrecking ball" to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the White House announced plans to move ahead with the sale of drilling leases in the 19 million-acre coastal preserve, despite widespread, bipartisan opposition to oil and gas extraction there.

Read More Show Less
The Bond Fire, started by a structure fire that extended into nearby vegetation on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 in Silverado, CA. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

Hot, dry and windy conditions fueled a wildfire southeast of Los Angeles Thursday that injured two firefighters and forced 25,000 to flee their homes.

Read More Show Less
Hospital workers evacuate patients from the Feather River Hospital during the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018 in Paradise, California. People in 128 countries have experienced an increased exposure to wildfires, a new Lancet report finds. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The climate crisis already has a death toll, and it will get worse if we don't act to reduce emissions.

Read More Show Less