PHOTO: In the wake of a new campaign from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, McDonald’s is being urged to stop using meat that’s been raised with antibiotics. Photo credit: Elliot/Flickr
A new campaign has been launched urging the largest restaurant chain in the nation to stop purchasing meat that’s been raised with antibiotics. Pamela Clough, campaign coordinator with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)’s Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics initiative, says there’s a growing public health threat with what she calls the overuse of antibiotics in meat agriculture. They’re asking McDonald’s to take food made with antibiotics off the menu. “They are one of the largest purchasers of beef, pork and chicken in the U.S.,” says Clough. “This commitment from McDonald’s would really help tackle the growing public health crisis of antibiotics resistance.” In 2003, McDonald’s did adopt a policy on purchasing meat raised without antibiotics, but Clough says while it was a step in the right direction, the “Golden Arches” didn’t go far enough. “It only applied to some suppliers and didn’t require the suppliers to only purchase meat raised without antibiotics,” she says. “It had to do with antibiotics used for growth promotion versus disease prevention. So in the end it’s not enough. We need stronger action.” McDonald’s says it recognizes the importance of combating antibiotic resistance, and an update to its policy on antibiotic use in food animals is due out this year. According to the CDC, each year some two million Americans become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. At least 23,000 of those infected die as a direct result of their infections.