(Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp on Tuesday released guidelines for suppliers of beef in its top 10 sourcing countries to curb the use of antibiotics as the fast-food giant joins a broad effort to battle dangerous superbugs.
The guidelines released by the world’s biggest restaurant chain – which is also one of the biggest buyers of beef in the world – requires suppliers to begin phasing out the use of antibiotics defined by the World Health Organization as “highest priority critically important antimicrobials” (HPCIA) to human medicine.
It also urged suppliers to adopt a tiered approach to the use of antibiotics, encouraging them to use HPCIA drugs as the last resort.
McDonald’s move to curb the use of antibiotics in beef could push other restaurant chains to follow suit.
Restaurant chains including Wendy’s Co reduced the use of antibiotics in their chicken supply after McDonald’s introduced similar policies last year.
McDonald’s said on Tuesday it would work with producers in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, UK, Canada, Brazil and the United States to establish pilot tests in order to begin the implementation of this new policy.
The company said it would establish market-specific reduction targets based on the test findings by the end of 2020.
Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru