McDonald’s is aiming to curb the use of antibiotics in its global beef supply chain with a new policy it hopes will drive industry-wide progress.
According to the World Health Organisation, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today.
Working with its suppliers and beef producers, the restaurant chain is taking a phased approached.
It will first work with beef producers in its top ten beef sourcing markets to measure and understand the current usage of antibiotics.
By the end of 2020, McDonald’s says it will establish reduction targets for medically important antibiotics.
Beginning 2022, it will be reporting progress against antibiotic targets across its top ten beef sourcing markets.
In the long term, it aims to reduce the usage of antibiotics with the goal of replacing them with “long-term solutions”. What those solutions were, the company wasn’t forthcoming.
The policy is the fruit of a year and half’s work, during which time the restaurant chain consulted with a cross-section of expert stakeholders – from vets to beef producers.
“McDonald’s believes antibiotic resistance is a critical public health issue, and we take seriously our unique position to use our scale for food to continue to address this challenge,” said Global Vice President of Sustainability Keith Kenny.
“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 heath and welfare of those animals in our supply chain.”