In March, McDonald’s-the world’s largest fast-food chain-announced it will stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics within two years. The new policy will impact 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States and could potentially affect many chicken producers as well.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate 23,000 Americans die each year due to antibiotic-resistant infections. There are many organizations fighting the use of antibiotics in livestock production, including the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). Organizer of PIRG’s Stop Overuse of Antibiotics campaign, Pam Clough told The Washington Post, “This is a super-sized change for McDonald’s, and we’re lovin’ it.”
In the most recent quarter, McDonald’s profits decreased 21 percent and the company found customers are choosing other food chains which provide more transparent practices. Along with eliminating antibiotics in chicken, McDonald’s has committed to serving milk in Happy Meals that does not contain the growth hormone, rBST. These policy changes follow similar actions taken by Chipotle and Chick-fil-A and aim to provide customers with healthier, more ethical food options.
“[These changes] will signal to the marketplace a huge and growing demand for chicken raised without the routine use of antibiotics,” said Pam Clough to The Washington Post.