Industry News - PM

McDonald’s updates global policy on beef supply chain antibiotics use

By Rita Jane Gabbett on 12/11/2018

McDonald’s announced plans to partner with its global beef suppliers to reduce the use of medically important antibiotics by the end of 2020.

McDonald’s is partnering with supplying beef producers in its top 10 beef sourcing markets (Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, UK, Canada, USA and Brazil) to measure and understand current usage of antibiotics across a diverse, global supply chain.

By the end of 2020, based on what the company has learned, it will establish reduction targets for medically important antibiotics for these markets. Starting in 2022, McDonald’s will report progress against antibiotic reduction targets across its top 10 beef sourcing markets.

“Globally, McDonald’s position on antibiotic use is one of responsible use, where effective treatment includes selection of the most narrow spectrum antibiotic based upon identification of causes and associated susceptibility pattern/profile,” the updated company policy states. “Our overall approach to responsible use of antibiotics focuses on refining their selection and administration, reducing their use, and ultimately replacing antibiotics with long-term solutions to prevent diseases and protect animal health and welfare. With this in mind, we remain committed to treating animals when needed.”

The company said macrolide antibiotics are considered critically important for human medicine by the World Health Organization and will be subject to the use restrictions.

“The use of macrolide antibiotics may be permitted based upon the advice of a qualified veterinarian and informed by susceptible testing if no other drug is available to treat infected animals,” the policy states. 

Today’s announcement is the latest in McDonald’s moves to limit antibiotics use in its food chain. In 2016, McDonald’s USA reached its commitment to serve only chicken not treated with antibiotics important to human medicine. In 2017, McDonald’s announced an expanded antibiotics policy for chicken in markets around the world, as well as a refreshed Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship statement with commitments to create responsible-use antibiotic approaches for beef, dairy beef and pork.

McDonald’s has also joined the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Challenge. Launched in September 2018, the AMR Challenge is a yearlong effort to accelerate the fight against antimicrobial resistance across the globe.

Read the full McDonald’s policy statement for beef here.

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