McDonald’s has been accused of another case of greenwashing, and this time its inaction could have major public health implications.
Over-treating livestock with antibiotics may increase the prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria – this is not a new finding. Nether is the fact that antibiotic resistant bacteria can subsequently infect humans, which can cause infections that are more difficult to treat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations across America (and around the world) have tracked the problem for years through programs such as the National Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System for enteric bacteria (or NARMS) and others.
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The problem is, the groups that follow The Problem often can’t do more than just that: keep track. It is up to producers and large buyers of livestock to act and reduce the massive use of prophylactic antibiotics, drugs used to treat large-scale infections rather than treating sick animals on a case-by-case basis. And in 2018, McDonald’s, the largest beef buyer in the United States, pledged to do just that.
McDonald’s announced three years ago that it was restricting the use of antibiotics among its beef suppliers and was to conduct pilot projects across the United States that would help them set reduction targets by the end of the year. 2020.
The company released a statement that read in part: “As one of the world’s largest food companies, we will use our scale for good, partnering with industries in a transparent conversation to advance related practices. to the use of antibiotics and susceptibility testing. “
However, according to Lena Brook, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), we are almost a year past that deadline, and the channel has yet to share any information on its progress towards that goal. Additionally, the chain made a similar commitment to the chicken industry in 2015, positioning it as an early leader in the cause of ending the use of medically important antibiotics in the chicken supply chain. in the USA. But Brook says the “company has fallen from its leadership position” since, and calls those promises a case of greenwashing.
Danny O’Malley, president and founder of the plant-based food company Before the Butcher, noted that McDonald’s has shown “blatant disregard for the reduction commitment they so boldly declared in 2018 ”. However, he said, there may still be hope for the chain to redeem itself with its new plant-based burger. “Hopefully McDonald’s introduction of McPlant in the United States sizzles rather than sizzles as we have seen [with] their commitment to restrict antibiotics in beef produced for the company. “
McDonald’s did not respond to our request for comment on this matter.
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