McDonald’s USA to stop sourcing chickens raised with antibiotics

Sourcing of antibiotic-free chicken is catching up in the US, setting an example for Indian retail food companies

By Mouna Nagaraju
Published: Thursday 05 March 2015

imageOn Wednesday, McDonald’s USA announced  that they will not source chickens raised with antibiotics important for human health. The decision, which supports the retail chain’s Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals released earlier this week, will be implemented over two years.

While this move follows a change in consumers’ preferences in favour of “healthier” options, it falls short of prohibiting non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in all kinds of meat. Other retail food chains like Chick-fil-A Inc. and Panera have already begun using antibiotic-free chicken in the US, say news reports.

It is high time that the other food retail chains in India also source antibiotic-free chicken keeping the risks of antimicrobial resistance in mind. Rising consumer awareness in India on the risks of consuming antibiotic-laden chicken meat will mandate food retail chains in India to switch to sourcing antibiotic-free chicken meat. In July last year, Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had released a study which revealed the presence of antibiotic residues in chicken meat. It also pointed to the indiscriminate use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic purposes in poultry farms in the country. The study recommended that antibiotics must be banned from being used for non-therapeutic purposes, growth promotion and disease prevention in poultry and other food-producing animals.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing health concern across the world. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics in the rearing of food-producing animals is recognised as one of the major contributors to antimicrobial resistance the world over.

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