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Mcdonald’s tracker for responsible antibiotic use

Author: Øistein Thorsen, FAI Farms

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is amongst the most pressing challenges facing humanity. As one of the world’s largest food companies — McDonald’s is committed to using their scale for good, to influence industry change and highlight opportunities for the responsible use of antibiotics in food animal production.

FAI Antibiotic Tracker

McDonald’s partnered with FAI to develop a tracker to record antibiotic use in the broiler flocks processed for McDonald’s. McDonald’s understands that antibiotics are an important tool in safeguarding the health and welfare of the livestock within their supply chain — and more importantly, that healthy animals assure McDonald’s customers of safe food.

The McDonald’s antibiotic tracker monitors the supply-wide picture of antibiotic usage over time to determine how usage is trending and what factors may be influencing this. Identification of reducing trends of antibiotic use indicate best practice opportunities in this pre-competitive issue that can be captured and shared with other producers. Additionally, highlighting increasing trends indicates areas for McDonald’s to work collaboratively on supplier-relevant initiatives to reduce, replace and refine antibiotic usage in their supply chain.

This approach allows McDonald’s to engage objectively and openly with their supply chain partners to bring about positive change and supports McDonald’s increasing transparency around this critical issue to better inform their customers and external stakeholders.

The Antibiotic Tracker captures the following antibiotic measures within McDonald’s supply chain (in those markets identified in McDonald’s Policy for Antibiotic Use for Broiler Chickens):

  • Total usage of all antibiotics (mg/kg)
  • The usage of antibiotics defined by the World Health Organization as Highest Priority Critically Important to Human Medicine (HPCIA)3
  • Usage of antibiotics in the first 7 days, which will serve as an indicator of prophylactic treatment practices using antibiotics without disease diagnosis

"Our work with FAI is ground-breaking in the sense that for the first time, we will have independently managed data at a global scale representing diverse production systems, climates and breeds that will inform a sustainable approach to responsible antibiotic use, balancing animal health and global concerns surrounding AMR."
Bruce Feinberg Senior Director Global Protein Quality Systems McDonald’s Corporation

FAI’S 3R approach to antibiotic stewardship

FAI’s framework for responsible antibiotic use promotes practical and evidence-based solutions to ‘Replace, Reduce and Refine’ the use of antimicrobials. The 3R approach is sufficiently flexible to allow tailored stewardship programmes to be developed for individual species, production systems and farms across the world.

Replace the need for antibiotic use, primarily through comprehensive disease prevention, including improvements to husbandry and management, nutrition, genetics, vaccine use, biosecurity and quarantine procedures, and better access to knowledge and technology.

Reduce overall antibiotic use without compromising health and welfare through improved diagnostic testing and standardised methods for recording and reporting antibiotic usage in aquaculture. Collating this ongoing data is essential to inform better practice and support targets for improvement. FAI’s Antibiotics Tracker software is being used globally to support this initiative

Refine the use of antibiotics where treatment is required, through development of effective diagnostic testing and administration routes (alternatives to oral administration), administration of the correct dosage, for the right duration and using the appropriate equipment.