Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

McDonald's to Reduce Antibiotics Use in Beef

Food
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."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

People visit Jacksonville Beach on July 4, 2020 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Public health experts have attributed Florida's growing coronavirus caseload to people gathering in crowds. Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

Florida broke the national record for the most new coronavirus cases reported in a single day on Sunday, with a total of 15,299.

Read More Show Less
Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

By James Shulmeister

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

Read More Show Less
Luxy Images / Getty Images

By Jo Harper

Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.

Read More Show Less
Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less