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mcdonald's takes steps on its antibiotics promise

  1. 4,996 Posts.
    January 12, 2005
    McDonald's Takes Steps on Its Antibiotics Promise
    HE McDonald's Corporation has taken the first steps to fulfill its 2003 promise to reduce the
    levels of antibiotics in the millions and millions of pounds of chicken, pork and beef that it sells.
    All of the chicken suppliers with whom the company has a direct relationship have already eliminated
    the use of human antibiotics as growth promoters in the chickens.
    The antibiotics are used to speed up the animals' growth, rather than to treat disease. Scientists have
    been concerned for years that the overuse of the antibiotics in agricultural animals will reduce the
    medicines' effectiveness in humans.
    "The policy is fully in effect in the United States and Europe, but not completely in Asia and Latin
    America, where we do not have direct relationships with suppliers," said Bob Langert, the senior
    director for social responsibility at McDonald's.
    McDonald's has been working with Environmental Defense, an advocacy group, to bring about the
    change, which the company says has not increased the price of the chickens.
    More than three years ago Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms and Foster Farms, which combined produce a
    third of the chickens consumed by Americans, acknowledged that they had voluntarily taken most or all
    of the antibiotics out of what they feed healthy chickens.
    That switch has made it much easier for McDonald's to implement its program, which also includes an
    overall reduction in antibiotic use.
    "We are also saying we want less and less," Mr. Langert said. "Suppliers have to report on an annual
    basis what is being used and what their track record is. In the past we did not know."
    The industry says that beef is less of a problem because McDonald's hamburger meat comes from dairy
    cows, which do not routinely receive antibiotics in their feed. Pork is proving more difficult because
    pigs are the largest animal consumers of human antibiotics.
    Scandinavian countries have eliminated routine use of all antibiotics in pigs as well as in other animals,
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