Major food chain McDonald’s have unveiled a new policy to reduce the overall use of antibiotics across their global beef supply chain. Under the policy, the use of antibiotics for growth promotion is no longer permitted for the company’s food-producing animals and routine use of medically important antibiotics for the prevention of disease is also prohibited. Therefore, critically important antibiotics used for human medicine will not be permitted for the control or treatment of infectious diseases in food-producing animals used for McDonald’s products.
In a recent article by Global Meat News, McDonald’s commented that “According to the WHO [World Health Organisation], antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food safety, and development today. With our new policy, McDonald’s is doing our part to help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for human and animal health in the future.” The complex task will take time but in collaboration with their beef producers, McDonald’s are taking a strategic and phased approach.
By the end of 2022, the new policy will establish market-specific reductions for medically important antibiotics, based on pilot findings in the company’s top ten markets: Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Poland, UK, USA, Canada and Brazil. Global Vice President for sustainability, Keith Kenny said “McDonald’s believes antibiotic resistance is a critical public health issue, and we take seriously our unique position to use our scale for good to continue to address this challenge. We are excited to partner with our beef supply chain around the world to accelerate the responsible use of antibiotics, whilst continuing to look after the health and welfare of those animals in our supply chain.”
Whilst beef containing hormones is illegal in the European Union (EU), regulated hormone use is permitted in cattle rearing by US, Canadian, Mexican and Australian authorities. McDonald’s efforts to cut down antibiotics used in their food sets an example to be followed by other major food retailers, as the need for vital screening continues to increase.
Randox Food Diagnostics are leading the way in developing reliable and economic testing methods to monitor drug residues in meat. Utilising Biochip Array Technology capabilities, our Growth Promoter Multiple Matrix array detects for several growth promoters in meat including the USDA approved test for ractopamine, also available on our ELISA test menu.