Washington, D.C. – Following the recent introduction of new food safety legislation to combat the overuse of medically-important antibiotics – used to treat human illnesses – in animals raised for food, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today on McDonald’s decision to stop selling chicken raised with medically important antibiotics and milk from cows that are treated with the artificial growth hormone rbST.
“Chicken nuggets shouldn’t pose a public health risk,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Fast food restaurants sell a huge amount of food to New Yorkers and people across the country every day. This voluntary decision to stop using chicken raised with antibiotics that are used in human medicine is a step in the right direction. While Congress must pass legislation that would stop the overuse of antibiotics in the food we eat, I hope more companies will follow their lead.”
Today, McDonald’s announced they will no longer use chicken raised with antibiotics meant for humans or milk from cows are treated with artificial growth hormones. Antibiotics have been used to make livestock grow faster and gain weight, and to prevent diseases caused by overcrowding and poor hygiene in livestock facilities. The use of certain antibiotics in livestock has been shown to generate antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can make people sick with infections that are harder to treat.
Just this week, Senator Gillibrand along with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) introduced the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act, legislation that would curb the overuse of antibiotics in livestock. The legislation requires the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its approval of medically-important antibiotics used for disease prevention or control that are high risk of abuse, unless the producer of the drug can demonstrate that its use in food animals does not pose a risk to human health.