U.S. PIRG announced a national campaign targeting McDonald’s because the company “…has an outsized influence as the biggest purchaser of beef in the United States, and it has a vague long-term antibiotics plan.”
In 2017, McDonald’s released an updated Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship (VAS) for Food Animals, which serves as the company’s framework for antibiotic use in food animals. The VAS states “…McDonald’s is committed to reducing the need for antibiotics, and has a preference for raw materials (beef, poultry, pork, dairy cows and laying hens and defined as “Food Animals”) supplied through progressive farming practices including the Responsible Use of Antibiotics. As one of the world’s largest food companies, we will seize the opportunity to use its scale for good, to influence industry change on the issue of Responsible Use of Antibiotics.”
U.S. PIRG has started gathering signatures on a petition urging McDonald’s to act on removing meat from food animals produced using antibiotics. Meanwhile, state affiliates of U.S. PIRG have held rallies outside McDonald’s restaurants across the country.
“Protecting antibiotics requires action, not reaction. If we don’t act now to preserve the effectiveness of these medicines, we’ll face a world in which common infections once again kill,” Matthew Wellington, antibiotics program director, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, said in a statement. “The Big Mac can make a big dent in stopping the misuse of antibiotics in our food system.”