The National Chicken Council (NCC) has released the following statement on the announcement of McDonald’s new antibiotic policy attributable to Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., National Chicken Council vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs:
“The top priority of farmers and chicken companies is to raise healthy chickens, because healthy chickens are directly related to a safe food supply. Responsible, FDA-approved veterinary treatment and prevention benefits animal welfare and human health by reducing the need for increased doses of antibiotics of human importance in the event of widespread disease.
“The vast majority of these antibiotics are never used in humans. McDonald’s, veterinarians and animal scientists recognize their importance to minimize the use of those antibiotics that are important in human medicine.
“Chicken producers have a vested interest in protecting the effectiveness of antibiotics, for the welfare of their animals; as such, we’ve proactively and voluntarily taken steps toward finding alternative ways to control disease while reducing antibiotic use. For almost two years, chicken producers have been working with the FDA, farmers and veterinarians to phase out the use of antibiotics that are important in human medicine for growth promotion purposes in animals.
“While antibiotics that are important to human medicine are minimally used when raising chickens, by December 2016 under FDA guidance, these antibiotics will be labeled for use in food animals only to prevent disease and treat sick birds, and will be used exclusively under the supervision and prescription of a veterinarian.
“Chicken producers are in the business of providing choice, are committed to innovation and producing a wide range of chicken products for a wide range of consumers.”