McDonald's challenged for overuse of antibiotics in beef, posing 'systemic, global threat to public health and the economy'

The  Staff Canteen

McDonald's could be forced to reveal the impact of its heavy reliance on antibiotics in beef farming, as critics warn it is contributing to a public health crisis as well as an environmental one

The Mail on Sunday reports that an unlikely alliance of investors, led by Trinity College Cambridge and corporate raider Carl Icahn, is preparing to challenge the firm at its annual meeting taking place later this month.

Trinity College, which holds shares in the company via its £1.9bn endowment fund, has tabled a motion to force McDonald's to disclose the environmental and public health cost of its continued use of antibiotics in its meat production. The proposal states that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) “poses a systemic, global threat to public health and the economy.”

The backlash from investors comes after the burger giant vowed four years ago to publish plans on reducing its use of the drugs due to fears that the practice is putting millions of lives at risk.

Yet to Honour its promises

However, campaigners say that the company has yet to honour its promises. At the same time, there is growing evidence supporting that the excessive consumption of antibiotics is causing the rise of drug-resistant bacteria - so-called superbugs.

McDonald's says it is committed to an 'overall reduction' in the use of the drugs. As it is one of the world's largest buyers of beef, its influence on the use of antibiotics in intensive farming worldwide is substantial, so any change it makes would be felt throughout the industry. Two thirds of antibiotics used worldwide are fed to farm animals, meaning the largest breeding ground for superbugs is in livestock such as cattle.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th May 2022

McDonald's challenged for overuse of antibiotics in beef, posing 'systemic, global threat to public health and the economy'