McDonald’s to stop buying chicken given human-critical antibiotics

McDonald’s has said it will start curbing the use of the high value antibiotics in its global chicken supply in 2018, by phasing out its purchase of poultry given certain drugs deemed critical to human medicine.

McDonald’s, in a policy statement, said it was also working on antibiotic plans for other meats, dairy cows and laying hens.

McDonald’s said it would require chicken suppliers around the world to begin phasing out the use of antibiotics defined by the World Health Organization as “highest priority critically important antimicrobials” (HPCIA) to human medicine.

Public health and consumer groups applauded the move, which is not as strict as the company’s policy for the United States, where already for a year suppliers have provided the chain with chickens raised without antibiotics deemed important to human health.

In January 2018, HPCIAs will be gone from McDonald’s chickens in Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Europe. Only in Europe the company will make an exception for Colistin, a last resort antibiotic.

By the end of 2019, suppliers in Australia and Russia will stop using HPCIAs and European suppliers plan to remove Colistin.

Suppliers in all other markets will comply by January 2027. “Our goal is to have this policy implemented before this date,” McDonald’s said in its posted antibiotic policy update.

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