McDonald's to reduce antibiotics in its global beef supply

13 December 2018 - 11:04 By Ntokozo Miya
McDonald's plan to reduce the use of antibiotics in its beef supply chain will likely be followed by other restaurants.
McDonald's plan to reduce the use of antibiotics in its beef supply chain will likely be followed by other restaurants.
Image: Wikipedia

The world's biggest fast food chain plans to cut down on antibiotics used in the treatment of sick cows in its supply chain. 

According to CNN, McDonald's considered a World Health Organisation (WHO) report before coming to the decision.

The WHO noted that excessive use of antibiotics in animals consumed by humans resulted in those antibiotics becoming less effective when used in the treatment of diseases in humans.

A Reuters report stated that many meat producers reduced their use of antibiotics in chicken in recent years, taking their cue from McDonald's.

The McDonald's undertaking where beef is concerned is expected to have the same ripple effect. Because of its size, the food chain is able to influence change in the food production sector.

While antibiotics reduction might be music to the ears of consumers, it's a huge concern for experts.

Cows have a longer lifespan than chickens. This means that there are more opportunities for cows to get ill.

Animal farmers will be challenged to find alternative treatments when caring for sick animals.

According to The Guardian, pharmaceutical companies are already at work developing such alternatives.

The next step for McDonald's is to scrutinise its biggest markets to determine the extent to which drugs are used, following which the fast food chain will set limits. 

McDonald's hopes to have achieved a significant reduction in antibiotic use by the year 2020.

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