MASSPIRG Calls on McDonald’s To Fulfill Promise To Cut Antibiotics from Meat Supply

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MASSPIRG Calls on McDonald’s To Fulfill Promise To Cut Antibiotics from Meat Supply

Boston: Today, MASSPIRG gathered outside the Washington Street McDonald’s in Boston to urge the fast food giant to stop serving meat raised with routine antibiotics. This is a necessary shift if the chain hopes to fulfill its vision for antibiotic stewardship, a framework for reducing its use of antibiotics. The group commended McDonald’s for fulfilling its promise to serve chicken raised without medically-important antibiotics, but demanded continued action in doing the same for beef and pork. As the largest purchaser of beef and a major purchaser of pork in the United States, its policy will help stop the reckless overuse of antibiotics in the U.S. beef and pork industries.

“If McDonald’s commits to stop buying beef and pork raised with misused antibiotics then other chains will follow suit,” said Shelby Luce, MASSPIRG’s Campaign to Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics. “If other fast food chains followed McDonald’s lead, industrial farms would also change their practices for the better.”

Following today’s kickoff event, MASSPIRG is knocking on thousands of doors across the state to generate support for the campaign to get McDonald’s to stop serving any meat raised with the routine use of antibiotics.

The World Health Organization has called for both ending use of antibiotics for growth promotion and severely restricting the routine use of medically important antibiotics for disease prevention on animals that aren’t sick. That common meat industry practice breeds drug-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs” that cause illnesses that are difficult to cure.  As a result, even common infections can become deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, superbugs kill more than 23,000 people in the U.S. each year.

Approximately 70 percent of the medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. go to food animals. The prolonged overuse has lead to a rise of “superbugs.” When farm animals receive antibiotics for extended periods of time, the drugs kill most of the bacteria inside them, except for those naturally resistant to antibiotics. The surviving bacteria‒ the strongest‒ then breed, creating resistant strains that can be transmitted to humans through contact with animals, improper handling of meat, and contaminated water.

“We need companies, like McDonald’s, to use their tremendous purchasing power to shift the industry away from these harmful practices,” said Luce.

If the “golden arches”, which has 297 locations in the state, commits to only purchasing beef and pork raised without misusing antibiotics, we can take a significant step in ensuring that antibiotics are preserved for treating sick people.


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