The fast-food chain is working on a global vision for antibiotic stewardship for its pig meat products.
McDonald’s is currently working with the beef and pork industries on an approach to antibiotics use in cattle and hog production that, at this point, does not take a “never ever” approach, reports Meatingplace.
“We know some of our competitors have come out and said ‘no antibiotics ever’,” said Justin Ransom, senior director of quality systems for McDonald’s USA. “We don’t necessarily think that is possible in the short term. It is really more about how we can challenge people to find better ways to raise animals so that they don’t need antibiotics to begin with.”
A year ago, McDonald’s announced its ambition eventually to source chickens from suppliers whose flocks had never received antibiotics important for human medicine.
In an interview at the North American Meat Institute’s management conference in Chicago recently, Ransom told Meatingplace that McDonald’s is working with leading scientists to develop a global vision for antimicrobial stewardship.
He emphasized the company’s interest in understanding this complex issue, and coming up with strategies beef and pork producers can achieve.
“Our goal is to come out with a commitment we know industry can move toward,” he said. “It may be a stretch goal, but it is one of those things where we really want industry’s engagement on how we can do things differently.”
To read the full interview in Meatingplace, click here.
About McDonald’s Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship
According to McDonald’s latest Sustainability Report, in 2014, the company developed its Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals to “preserve antimicrobial effectiveness in the future through ethical practices today”.
Published in March of 2015, the Vision was based on the previous policy from 2003 but aimed to apply the same guiding principles to suppliers of all animal proteins, not just chicken. It prohibits the use of critically important drugs (i.e., as defined by the World Health Organization, WHO, as critical to human health) that are not approved for veterinary use, as well as the use of medically important drugs (i.e., as defined by the WHO, important to human health but also approved for veterinary use) when used for growth promotion. Through the Vision, the company stated its aims to embrace farming systems that reduce the need for antibiotics, and practices that reduce or eliminate the need for antibiotic use by using proven best practices such as probiotics or animal husbandry practices. It also required veterinarians to oversee animal care.