Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal

The antibiotics used to treat illnesses in humans are the crown jewels of medicine, and their future has been imperiled by their reckless use in animal agriculture. Often used to promote growth and boost profits instead of treating disease, antibiotic overuse has led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and difficult-to-treat infections in people.

The announcement from McDonald's that it will require its chicken suppliers to phase out their use of these important drugs is excellent news for consumers. This move should have major reverberations throughout the meat and poultry industry. Major suppliers such as Tyson and Perdue have made similar commitments. This should inspire regulators to prohibit the overuse of medically important antibiotics in animal agriculture altogether. And I hope that McDonald's will now commit to using beef and pork from animals not treated with important antibiotics.