Major companies move on antibiotics policies

by Erica Shaffer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The third-largest retailer in the United States and a franchiser of McDonald's restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean announced their intentions to eliminate from their food supply antibiotics medically important to human health.

Costco Wholesale Corp. and Arcos Dorados in Buenos Aires, Argentina, both said they are working toward eliminating proteins produced with the use of antibiotics medically important to human health. The action comes on the heels of an announcement by McDonald's US that the company will only buy chicken raised without antibiotics that are medically important to human health. The company operates approximately 14,000 restaurants in the United States.

Costco reported the company is working with poultry suppliers and regulatory agencies to develop a strategy for removing antibiotics from the poultry supply chain. Meanwhile, Arcos Dorados, which operates 2,000 McDonald's restaurants in 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries, said the company will only source proteins from suppliers that can guarantee their animals are raised according to McDonald's US's new policy. Currently, the antibiotics policy only impacts the company’s poultry and milk suppliers in the United States.

“As the operator of more than 2,000 McDonald’s in 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, we will continue working closely with our partners on this important issue,” said Horacio Sbrolla, vice president for Supply Chain, Arcos Dorados.

Additionally, the Arcos Dorados policy goes further to include its suppliers of beef, chicken, pork and dairy.

“Good food comes from healthy animals living on a sustainable planet,” said Leonardo Lima, Sustainability Director. “We want to make sure we protect the health of animals in our supply chain, while helping to safeguard the future effectiveness of antibiotics.”

Suppliers to Arcos Dorados must:

• Prohibit the use of antibiotics to promote animal growth.
• Prohibit the use of antibiotics in food animals that are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “critically important” to human medicine and not approved for veterinary use.

• All antibiotic treatments of animals to cure or prevent disease must be prescribed and overseen by a veterinarian.

• Encourage healthy animal welfare and husbandry conditions, to help reduce the need for antibiotic use.

Arcos Dorados said the company’s policy is “…fully in line with McDonald’s global vision, includes following the WHO categorization of antibiotics…”
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