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McDonald's antibiotics ban to be applied only in U.S.   

麦当劳在美逐步停用抗生素鸡肉 中国暂无时间表

2015-03-06 09:00 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Will not be implemented in China for now

A new initiative by McDonald's to stop serving in the US market chicken raised with antibiotics used in human medicine will not be extended to China for now, the company said on Thursday.

The US fast-food giant will only source chicken raised without antibiotics crucial to human health, as part of its new menu sourcing initiative in the U.S., the company announced on its website on Wednesday, noting it is a move to better meet cU.S.tomers' expectations on food safety.

AFP attributed the new move to growing worries about people's rising tolerance to crucial drugs.

Suppliers of McDonald's will continue to treat sickened poultry with prescribed antibiotics but these poultry will be excluded from being supplied to McDonald's, Marion Gross, senior vice president of McDonald's North America Supply Chain, was quoted as saying in the announcement.

Meanwhile, ionophores, a kind of antibiotics not U.S.ed by humans, will continue to be U.S.ed to keep chickens healthy, the company said.

The new antibiotics policy will be implemented in the supply chain for about 14,000 U.S. restaurants within two years, the company said, without mentioning whether it will be expanded to other markets.

It is essential to U.S.e antibiotics in treating animals and the company's suppliers will only U.S.e antibiotics when they are needed, McDonald's China said on its website on Thursday, noting the U.S.age will strictly follow China's related laws and regulations.

"If meat antibiotics residues could meet national standards, then the meat should be safe for human consumption," Ma Chuang, an insider who has been working in the hU.S.bandry indU.S.try for 25 years, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"The enforcement of related regulations is crucial for guaranteeing food safety," Ma said.

As for the new initiative carried out in the U.S. market, McDonald's China said "we will promote related measures based on actual conditions in the Chinese agricultural indU.S.try."

KFC did not reply to the Global Times' inquiry about its antibiotic U.S.age standard in China by press time.

"McDonald's move in the U.S. could also help to promote more scientific U.S.e of antibiotics in China," Zhu Yi, an associate professor at China Agricultural University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Ma noted that in the long run, the U.S.e of antibiotics in animal feed is expected to be gradually reduced but at present antibiotics are still needed for animal feed.

The European Union banned the U.S.e of antibiotics in animal feed in 2006, but it is not very likely that such a practice can be enforced in China at present before effective replacement for antibiotics in animal feeding is available, Zhu also said.

However, the fact that the higher standards are only being implemented in the U.S. market has caU.S.ed some Chinese cU.S.tomers to be dissatisfied.

"ObvioU.S.ly McDonald's is conducting double standards in China and the U.S.. I also expect to have safe food without antibiotics," Han Tao, a 30-year-old Beijing-based engineer, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Han said he hardly eats at McDonald's after a food scandal was exposed by the media in July 2014, but he will return to the fast-food chain if it implements the same supply standard in China as in the U.S..

An undercover television report in July 2014 depicting improper food handling practices by supplier Shanghai HU.S.i, a subsidiary of U.S. food provider OSI Group, including selling tainted or expired meat products to many well-known Western fast-food chains such as McDonald's and KFC.

The food safety scandal badly damaged the reputation of these fast-food chains and their sales in the Chinese market.

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