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."

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York, a polluted nearly 2 mile-long waterway that is an EPA Superfund site. Jonathan Macagba / Moment / Getty Images

Thousands of Superfund sites exist around the U.S., with toxic substances left open, mismanaged and dumped. Despite the high levels of toxicity at these sites, nearly 21 million people live within a mile of one of them, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The National Weather Service station in Chatham, Massachusetts, near the edge of a cliff at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Bryce Williams / National Weather Service in Boston / Norton

A weather research station on a bluff overlooking the sea is closing down because of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Amsterdam is one of the Netherlands' cities which already has "milieuzones," where some types of vehicles are banned. Unsplash / jennieramida

By Douglas Broom

  • If online deliveries continue with fossil-fuel trucks, emissions will increase by a third.
  • So cities in the Netherlands will allow only emission-free delivery vehicles after 2025.
  • The government is giving delivery firms cash help to buy or lease electric vehicles.
  • The bans will save 1 megaton of CO2 every year by 2030.

Cities in the Netherlands want to make their air cleaner by banning fossil fuel delivery vehicles from urban areas from 2025.

Read More Show Less
Protestors stage a demonstration against fracking in California on May 30, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A bill that would have banned fracking in California died in committee Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER / E+ / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

As world leaders prepare for this November's United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, a new report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission reveals that the world's wealthiest 5% were responsible for well over a third of all global emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.

Read More Show Less