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All McDonald's Canada chicken products will be free of antibiotics important to human medicine by 2018, the company said.

TORONTO – McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada will only source chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine by the end of 2018. The company added that poultry growers will continue to use ionophores, a type of antibiotic not used for humans.

McDonald’s Canada said the company will work with the Canadian poultry farmers who supply chicken to the chain’s 1,400 Canadian restaurants to implement the new antibiotics policy in the McDonald’s poultry supply chain. The policy is in line with McDonald’s antimicrobial stewardship initiative announced in March.

“McDonald's believes antibiotics have important benefits, but that a few sensible changes to our policy can both maintain their most important benefits while helping to reduce their use overall,” said Rob Dick, senior director of McDonald’s Canada supply chain.

In a March 3 announcement, McDonald's US said it would only source chicken raised without antibiotics that are medically important to human health. The company planned to implement the policy within the next two years in the US. McDonald's operates approximately 14,000 restaurants in the United States.