campaign asks McDonald's to take U.S. antibiotic curbs
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[August 12, 2016]
By Lisa Baertlein
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A charity looking
to fight the rise of dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria on Thursday
asked the public to help convince McDonald's restaurants around the
world to stop serving meat and milk from animals raised with routine use
of medically important antibiotics.
A week after the world's biggest fast-food company took that step
with poultry at its U.S. restaurants, U.K.-based ShareAction
launched an online campaign enabling people to email McDonald's Corp
CEO Steve Easterbrook.
The group, which promotes socially responsible investing, wants
Easterbrook to prohibit the use of antibiotics important to human
medicine in McDonald's global chicken, beef, pork and dairy supply
chains, for purposes other than disease treatment or non-routine
control of veterinarian-diagnosed illness.
"We hope this action will encourage McDonald's to supersize their
ambition," ShareAction Chief Executive Catherine Howarth said.
Scientists have warned that regular use of antibiotics to promote
growth and prevent illness in healthy farms animals contributes to
the rise of antibiotic-resistant "superbug" infections, which kill
at least 23,000 Americans each year and pose a significant threat to
McDonald's referred Reuters to an earlier statement that said it was
premature to set a timeline for curbing antibiotic use in meats
other than chicken, due to varying agricultural practices and
regulations around the world.
"We continue to regularly review this issue," that statement said.
Rival Wendy's Co told Reuters last week that by next year, it would
stop using chickens raised with antibiotics important to human
health. It also said it would set specific goals for pork and beef
production in 2017.
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Meanwhile, Yum Brands Inc's <YUM.N> KFC fried-chicken chain is under
fire for a policy that critics say effectively allows for routine
use of antibiotics by its chicken suppliers.
More than 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States
and half of those used in the United Kingdom are given to livestock,
In April, an investor coalition with about $1 trillion under
management, led by ShareAction and the Farm Animal Investment Risk &
Return (FAIRR) Initiative, pressed McDonald's and nine other large
food companies to set timelines for stopping the non-therapeutic use
of antibiotics important to human health in their supply chains.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by David
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