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McDonald’s Not Chicken About Changing Menu

By Selena Fragassi in News on Mar 8, 2015 6:00PM

Photo: McDonald's

Hold the McNugget. McDonald’s corporate office stirred the coop last week after making the bold announcement that the chain would start sourcing chicken solely raised without human antibiotics within the next two years. Going a step further, the 14,000 U.S. restaurants will also convert the jugs of white milk and chocolate milk they sell in Happy Meals to be produced by cows not treated with rbST, an artificial growth hormone.

This change strangely does not apply to the group’s 22,000 stores overseas though the Oakbrook-based megacorp says the move is part of its new plan, called the “Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals,” which rationalizes, “As the body of scientific evidence grows and scientific consensus emerges, we recognize the importance of continuing to evolve our position on antimicrobial usage.” As well, McDonald’s has become an integral part of the newly formed U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef.

The switch comes at a time that the restaurant, known for its exorbitant “nutritional info” (see the Shamrock Shake study), vies to stay competitive with the successful mass-market chains targeting more health-conscious, food-sensitive customers. Chik-Fil-A and Chipotle have already instituted such changes. It also comes at a time of mounting evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that finds that the overuse of antibiotics in modern medicine and our food contribute to the deaths of 23,000 Americans a year.

“Our customers want food that they feel great about eating—all the way from the farm to the restaurant—and these moves take a step toward better delivering on those expectations,” said McDonald’s U.S. President Mike Andres in a statement.

It’s good news for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has been urging McDonald’s to make the change for years and WBEZ reports that “last month, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and its Illinois chapter, launched a campaign to urge the chain to get antibiotics out of its meat production. And just yesterday, Illinois PIRG’s Dev Gowda, says he dropped off a petition in Oak Brook with 30,000 signatures to that effect.” The message seems to have been loud and clear to McDonald’s new CEO Steve Easterbrook who took the reigns just three days prior to the announcement.

Now if only they would tell us what’s actually inside the McNugget we might be able to sleep safe at night.