McDonald’s is not known for their health food. Sure, the fast-food chain sells greens and grilled chicken, but their No. 1 product is beef-based — the Big Mac. But the burger chain is hoping to change all that: McDonald’s has promised to reduce its overall antibiotic use in its beef.
The announcement was made on Tuesday amid growing concerns about antibiotic resistance. According to the World Health Organization, overuse and misuse of certain antibiotics makes them less effective at treating human diseases, and that is a problem. A huge problem. One McDonald’s is hoping to help rectify.
“McDonald’s believes antibiotic resistance is a critical public health issue, and we take serious our unique position to use our scale for good to continue to address this challenge,” Keith Kenny, McDonald’s global vice president of sustainability, said in a statement. “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.”
The change — while exciting and admirable — will not happen overnight. McDonald’s must first “measure and understand [the] current usage of antibiotics” across its beef suppliers. They will then establish country-specific targets by the end of 2020.
While the targets themselves will vary from country to country, the burger chain said it will no longer permit the use of antibiotics to grow bigger animals, they will no longer permit the routine use of antibiotics to prevent infectious diseases, and they will no longer permit the use of antibiotics to control the spread of infectious diseases in herds.
Instead, animals must display signs they are weak and/or sick.
And while these are lofty goals, we have a feeling that if anyone can achieve them, McDonald’s can.