McDonald's announced that it has eliminated antibiotics that are important in human medicine from 100 percent of its chicken supply. This announcement comes a year and a half after McDonald’s publicly committed to require its poultry suppliers to stop using medically important antibiotics, and after a continued dialogue with Friends of the Earth and a coalition of groups working to end the misuse of antibiotics in meat production.
“We applaud McDonald's for moving forward so quickly to implement its commitment to eliminate antibiotics in human medicine from its chicken supply,” says Kari Hamerschlag, deputy director of the Food and Technology program at Friends of the Earth. “As the nation’s largest restaurant chain, McDonald’s will send an important signal to the entire poultry industry, as well as to its top competitors, that offering chicken raised without antibiotics is both good for business and achievable in short order. Now, we look forward to the company taking similar swift action on its pork and beef supply, which continues to be produced with routine antibiotics. McDonald’s success on chicken raises the bar for other restaurant chains like KFC, Jack in the Box, and Olive Garden that are dragging their feet on this issue. It’s time for all fast and casual restaurants to address the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance by working with their meat and poultry suppliers to eliminate the routine use of antibiotics and improve overall conditions in U.S. meat production.”
As a result of this announcement, McDonald’s grade will improve in the second annual Chain Reaction Scorecard, due to be released in September, a report card for the U.S. top 25 restaurant chains’ meat and poultry antibiotics policies. McDonald’s received a “C” grade last year. The scorecard is a joint project of Friends of the Earth, Consumers Union, NRDC, Center for Food Safety, Food Animals Concerns Trust, and Keep Antibiotics Working.