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McDonald's to drop human antibiotics from chicken

Staff writer |
McDonald's says it plans to start using chicken raised without antibiotics commonly used in humans, and milk from cows that are not treated with an artificial growth hormone.

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Many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their livestock antibiotics to make them grow faster and ensure they are healthy.
The company says the chicken change will take place within the next two years. It says suppliers will still be able to use a type of antibiotic called ionophores that keep chickens healthy and aren't used in humans. The milk change will take place later this year.

Many cattle, hog and poultry producers give their livestock antibiotics to make them grow faster and ensure they are healthy. The practice has become a public health issue, with officials saying it can lead to germs becoming resistant to drugs so that they're no longer effective in treating a particular illness in humans.

Marion Gross, senior vice president of McDonald's North America's supply chain, said the change will cost the company more but noted the increase won't necessarily be passed on to customers because several factors are used to determine restaurant prices.

In a statement, chicken supplier Tyson Inc. said it looks forward to working with McDonald's to meet its new standards. Tyson noted it has reduced the use of antibiotics effective in humans by more than 84 percent since 2011.