Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

McDonald's to Cut Antibiotic Use

June 20, 2003|From Associated Press

McDonald's Corp. said Thursday that it was directing its meat suppliers worldwide to phase out the routine use of growth-promoting antibiotics in animals because of concerns that the practice lessens the drugs' effectiveness in humans.

McDonald's is the first major fast-food chain to take such a step.

The decision by the world's biggest restaurant company came after a year of consultations with environmental, science and consumer groups that had pushed for cutbacks. Those organizations hope the move by one of the largest meat buyers marks a turning point in the way U.S. farmers raise animals.

The policy does not prohibit the use of antibiotics to treat sick livestock. It is aimed instead at antibiotics routinely given to animals to promote growth.

McDonald's is telling its direct suppliers -- those that control all stages of animal production -- to phase out such antibiotics by the end of 2004. Direct suppliers provide most of McDonald's poultry and 20% of its meat.

Direct suppliers will be checked periodically and will be asked to certify every year that they are complying.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company also is offering incentives to indirect suppliers of beef and pork to follow the policy.

Doctors are increasingly confronting germs that have become antibiotic-resistant. Many scientists believe that the overuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock is causing many drugs to lose their effectiveness by speeding the rate at which bacteria become resistant.

The animal drug industry, however, contends that using antibiotics on farm animals makes food safer.

"As a company committed to social responsibility, we take seriously our obligation to understand the emerging science of antibiotic resistance," said Frank Muschetto, a McDonald's senior vice president.

McDonald's stock fell 49 cents to $21.56 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|