McDonald’s will soon begin using chickens that are not raised with antibiotics used to treat humans.. The move is part of an industry-wide push for healthier foods.
McDonald’s has 14,000 restaurants in the United States. Any change it makes has a big impact on the industry. It is making other changes. It will offer low-fat milk and chocolate milk not treated with an artificial growth hormone.
Farmers who raise meat and poultry use antibiotics. When food is treated this way, people can build up resistance to the drugs. At least two million Americans a year get sick because their bodies build resistance to antibiotics. About 23,000 die from their infections.
Consumers are saying they want to eat healthier foods. They seem ready to pay more for their meals. Other fast food chains will follow McDonald’s. Farmers say their chickens are healthy. However, the industry is so big most producers and chains will not want to give any competitor an edge such as antibiotic-free meat.
An expert said, “I think in a few years, one-third of chicken and turkey will be antibiotic-free. The other 66 percent of consumers will resent the fact that their chicken is not antibiotic-free.”
Chick-fil-A is a fast-growing chain. It no longer uses chickens treated with antibiotics. Panera has used meat raised without antibiotics for more than a decade.
The next struggle will be over beef. There is no definition agreed upon on for what is healthy beef. The industry and advocates have different views.
Source: The New York Times March 4, 2015