Share Action, a charity fighting the rise of dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria yesterday asked the public to help convince McDonald's restaurants around the world to stop serving meat and milk from animals raised with routine use of medically important antibiotics.
A week after the world's biggest fast-food company took that step with poultry at its US restaurants, the UK-based charity launched an online campaign to allow people to email McDonald's Corp CEO Steve Easterbrook.
The group promotes socially responsible investing. It wants the company to prohibit the use of antibiotics in its global chicken, beef, pork and dairy supply chains, for purposes other than disease treatment or non-routine control of veterinarian-diagnosed illness.
"We hope this action will encourage McDonald's to supersize their ambition," ShareAction chief executive Catherine Howarth said, Reuters reported.
According to scientists regular use of antibiotics to promote growth and prevent illness in healthy farms animals contributed to the rise of antibiotic-resistant "superbug" infections, which killed at least 23,000 Americans each year and posed a significant threat to global health.
Reuters cited an earlier statement from McDonald's saying it was premature to set a timeline for curbing antibiotic use in meats other than chicken due to varying agricultural practices and regulations around the world.
"We continue to regularly review this issue," McDonald's said.
ShareAction said that over 70 per cent of all antibiotics used in the US were given to livestock, while in the UK, this number stood at 50 per cent.
The campaign comes after Yum Brands-owned Kentucky Fried Cchicken came under fire for its chicken antibiotics policy. Over 350,000 consumers had signed a petition calling on the US fried-chicken chain to stop using antibiotics important to human medicine in its chicken supply.
KFC had responded that it would cut antibiotics use in its chicken by 2017. US burger chain Wendy's had also said it would stop using chickens raised with antibiotics by next year, adding that it planned to curb the use of antibiotics across pork and beef as well.