McDonald's Corporation is calling for its suppliers worldwide to phase-out of animal growth promotion antibiotics that are used in human medicine. The policy creates a set of standards for McDonald's direct meat suppliers and encourages indirect suppliers to take similar steps to eliminate growth-promoting antibiotics and to reduce other antibiotic usage.
"As a company committed to social responsibility, we take seriously our obligation to understand the emerging science of antibiotic resistance, and to work with our suppliers to foster real, tangible changes in our own supply community, and hopefully beyond," says Frank Muschetto, senior vice president of Worldwide Supply Chain Management at McDonald's Corporation. "McDonald's is asking producers that supply over 2.5 billion pounds of chicken, beef and pork annually to take actions that will ultimately help protect public health."
McDonald's Global Policy on Antibiotics Use in Food Animals was developed with a broad-based coalition of organizations interested in the issue and committed to identifying opportunities within animal agriculture.
In July 2002, McDonald's joined forces with Environmental Defense, an environmental advocacy organization and a partner with McDonald's on a range of initiatives since 1989, and Elanco Animal Health, to create an antibiotics coalition. Other members of the coalition include McDonald's suppliers Tyson Foods and Cargill, along with Brigham and Women's Hospital physician Dr. Thomas O'Brien, Oxford University animal welfare expert Dr. Marian Dawkins and Bon Appétit Management Company. The Meridian Institute facilitated the coalition process.
‘Direct relationship’ suppliers are those that directly control the stages of animal production where antibiotic use decisions are made. The majority of McDonald's worldwide poultry supply falls into this category.
Direct suppliers must certify annual compliance with the policy, including the sustainable use guiding principles and the elimination of growth promotion uses of antibiotics approved for use in human medicine, and must maintain records of antibiotics use that are available for company audits and review.
McDonald's policy also will be encouraged for indirect suppliers, which includes most beef and pork suppliers. For indirect relationship suppliers, the policy offers incentives for compliance with the policy and other actions that may reduce the potential for antibiotic resistance. Indirect suppliers seeking to become a preferred supplier in regards to the policy must also certify compliance and maintain records of their antibiotic use.
McDonald's will work together with other coalition members and encourage adoption of similar policies within the food and restaurant industry.
"Elanco supports McDonald's goal of the sustainable use of antibiotics," states Dennis Erpelding, corporate affairs manager for Elanco Animal Health. "We feel our partnership and collaboration with McDonald's represents a key milestone for the sustainable use of antibiotics in food animals, which are vital to ensure healthy animals and thus a safe food supply."
For the full text of McDonald's Global Policy on Antibiotics Use in Food Animals, go to: http://www.mcdonalds.com/corporate/social/.