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McDonalds issues antibiotics policy<br><br><br><br>
Chain fears agricultural use could make drugs less effective<br><br><br><br><br><br>
By Marc Kaufman<br><br>
THE WASHINGTON POST<br><br><br><br>
WASHINGTON, June 19 In response to increasingly dire warnings that widespread use of antibiotics on U.S. farms is making the drugs less effective for treating people, the fast-food chain McDonalds is directing some meat suppliers to stop using antibiotic growth promoters altogether and encouraging others to cut back.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
THE POLICY being announced today, the broadest in the United States, focuses on the use of antibiotics in animal feed to speed the development of livestock a practice widely seen by researchers as the least important and most expendable use of important antibiotics.<br><br>
Because McDonalds is the nations largest purchaser of beef and among the largest for chicken and pork, its action will noticeably reduce the amount of antibiotics being used as growth promoters. Beyond that, consumer and public health advocates as well as McDonalds executives said they hope the announcement will mark a turning point in the way U.S. farmers raise animals.<br><br><br><br>
HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT SHIFT<br><br>
This is a highly significant policy and change, said Rebecca Goldburg of Environmental Defense, an advocacy group that participated in McDonalds review of its practices. This policy is global and it goes beyond anything we have seen from other companies.<br><br>
Linda Tollefson, deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administrations Center for Veterinary Medicine, who also reviewed McDonalds proposal, said: When a very large and international company does something like this, its an important step. They will set the tone in the marketplace.<br><br>
According to the Animal Health Institute, which represents manufacturers of drugs for animal use, almost 22 million pounds of antibiotics were used on farms in 2001. That group estimates that 13 percent to 17 percent of that total is for growth promotion, but the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group, has said its research shows that more than 50 percent of the total could be considered growth promotion.<br><br>
The McDonalds policy will prohibit its direct suppliers, which mainly provide chicken, from using 24 growth promoters that are closely related to antibiotics used in human medicine. The firm, in deciding which independent farmers will supply its beef, chicken and pork, will consider it a favorable factor if the supplier avoids growth promoters.<br><br>
The policy will be effective worldwide by the end of 2004 and will require suppliers to keep records and submit to regular audits. Public health and FDA officials said the audits will make the program considerably stronger than others announced by fast-food competitors and chicken producers in recent years.<br><br><br><br>
BUILDING GERMS IMMUNITY<br><br>
Overuse of antibiotics on farms and to treat human ailments has made some old-line antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline much less effective than they once were. Concern that the life cycle of newer antibiotics called fluoroquinolones would be similarly cut short has spurred doctors and public health officials to action.<br><br>
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The use of small but regular amounts of antibiotics in animal feed which helps the animals grow quickly inevitably leads bacteria in the animals to evolve into forms that are immune to the antibiotics effects. Those resistant bacteria can be transferred to people, who will not be helped by related antibiotics they might need should they become sick.<br><br>
Efforts to reduce antibiotic use have focused on growth promoters because speeding the growth of farm animals is not considered a high-priority use. The European Union voted to ban the practice in 1998.<br><br>
The FDA has also sought to reduce overuse of antibiotics, but the effort has had little effect on U.S. farms. An FDA effort to ban an animal antibiotic called Baytril, a fluoroquinolone related to the human antibiotic Cipro, triggered a lengthy regulatory appeals process by Bayer Corp.<br><br>
Participants in the McDonalds effort offered their model as a way to make progress.<br><br>
They brought together all the stakeholders and looked at the science and came up with a policy that will encourage the sustainable use of antibiotics on the farm, said Dennis Erpelding, manager for corporate affairs of Elanco Animal Health, one of the five largest producers of drugs for animals.<br><br>
The McDonalds policy accepts the use of antibiotics to treat sick animals and to prevent and control disease outbreaks on farms. Some activists have said that could allow farmers to continue using growth promoters, which do not require a prescription, under the pretext of disease control and prevention.<br><br>
Overall antibiotic use on European farms has dropped considerably since a ban on growth promoters began to be phased in there, and resistance to antibiotics has declined. But reports show antibiotics are being used more frequently to treat sick animals.<br><br><br><br>
SOME DISSENTERS<br><br>
The Animal Health Institute, in a statement by Vice President Ron Phillips, said there is no scientific basis for the McDonalds policy. Europe, as the result of a non-science based policy, has removed the use of antibiotics as growth promoters, and as a result has sparked a dramatic increase in animal disease and the use of antibiotics to treat that disease, he said.<br><br>
McDonalds has been an industry leader on issues such as animal welfare and recycling after coming under concerted public pressure.<br><br>
We would love to be a catalyst for change industry-wide on antibiotic use, said Robert Langert, McDonalds senior director for social responsibility. People have been arguing about this all night and day, but now were taking some practical steps and expect well make some real progress.<br><br><br><br>
© 2003 The Washington Post Company<br><br><br><br></b>
 

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They've also found that kids are hitting puberty up tp 3 years earlier becuase of the hormones pumped into animals (primarily fromt the milk.) It's sad because my niece was a recipricant of that. She started her period at age 9. Way too young to have to deal with that. Her pediatrician said it was because of all the stuff they inject the animals with. I'm glad to see that McDonald's is taking some measures to help. now, if they would only stop serving meat.........<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:">
 

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L.A. Times coverage:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/printedition/la-fi-mcdonalds20jun20,1,456749.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-business" target="_blank">http://www.latimes.com/business/prin...es-pe-business</a><br><br><br><br><b>McDonald's to Cut Antibiotic Use</b><br><br><i>From Associated Press</i><br><br><br><br>
June 20, 2003<br><br><br><br>
McDonald's Corp. said Thursday that it was directing its meat suppliers worldwide to phase out the routine use of growth-promoting antibiotics in animals because of concerns that the practice lessens the drugs' effectiveness in humans.<br><br><br><br>
McDonald's is the first major fast-food chain to take such a step.<br><br><br><br>
The decision by the world's biggest restaurant company came after a year of consultations with environmental, science and consumer groups that had pushed for cutbacks. Those organizations hope the move by one of the largest meat buyers marks a turning point in the way U.S. farmers raise animals.<br><br><br><br>
The policy does not prohibit the use of antibiotics to treat sick livestock. It is aimed instead at antibiotics routinely given to animals to promote growth.<br><br><br><br>
McDonald's is telling its direct suppliers those that control all stages of animal production to phase out such antibiotics by the end of 2004. Direct suppliers provide most of McDonald's poultry and 20% of its meat.<br><br><br><br>
Direct suppliers will be checked periodically and will be asked to certify every year that they are complying.<br><br><br><br>
The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company also is offering incentives to indirect suppliers of beef and pork to follow the policy.<br><br><br><br>
Doctors are increasingly confronting germs that have become antibiotic-resistant. Many scientists believe that the overuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock is causing many drugs to lose their effectiveness by speeding the rate at which bacteria become resistant.<br><br><br><br>
The animal drug industry, however, contends that using antibiotics on farm animals makes food safer.<br><br><br><br>
"As a company committed to social responsibility, we take seriously our obligation to understand the emerging science of antibiotic resistance," said Frank Muschetto, a McDonald's senior vice president.<br><br><br><br>
McDonald's stock fell 49 cents to $21.56 on the New York Stock Exchange. [/quote]
 

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early puberty is probably not caused only by anti biotics. pesticides and other chemicals, hormone injected meat, artificial lighting at night time, our culture, etc. all play a role.
 

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From the McSpotlight newsletter:<br><br><br><br>
" McSpotlight note: The following article demonstrates that concerns<br><br>
continue to grow over modern techiques used in the controversial mass<br><br>
production of meat. The cruel conditions for animals being reared and<br><br>
slaughtered for profit is matched by the health risks to those who<br><br>
consume the products. These major concerns of critics and campaigners,<br><br>
brought up in the McLibel trial in the 1990s, are forcing the companies<br><br>
involved onto the defensive.<br><br><br><br>
It should be further noted that, despite the impression given to the<br><br>
contrary in the article, the systematic and irresponsible use of<br><br>
antibiotics to compensate for the unnatural, cramped and unhealthy<br><br>
conditions will continue. Except it will be 'justified' as 'concern' for<br><br>
the animal welfare. Bob Langert, McDonald's Corporation 'Director of<br><br>
Social Responsibility' (and a witness during the McLibel trial), is<br><br>
quoted in the article: 'Suppliers will still be able to use antibiotics<br><br>
for therapeutic purposes and disease prevention'. "<br><br><br><br><a href="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2cid=1508&u=/afp/20030619/hl_afp/us_company_mcdonald_s_030619181805printer=1" target="_blank">http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...81805printer=1</a><br><br>
<<a href="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=1508&u=/afp/20030619/hl_afp/us_company_mcdonald_s_030619181805&printer=1" target="_blank">http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...1805&printer=1</a>>
 
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