Caroline Gerdes
March 05, 2015 11:35 am

If McDonald’s McNuggets are your go-to comfort food (guilty as charged), you’ll soon be able to enjoy them without a super-sized side of antibiotics.

McDonald’s announced that it will gradually stop buying chicken raised with antibiotics used to fight human infections within the next two years. The change only applies right now to the chain’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

The phase-out of human antibiotics is a big step toward the fight against “superbugs,” or dangerous antibiotic resistant diseases.

Antibiotics have been used in poultry since the 1940s to keep the animal’s healthy and able to gain more weight without eating more food. The overuse of antibiotics in our food could make them less effective in people when fighting disease, especially with the rising threat of so-called “superbugs.”

McDonald’s is one of several companies going antibiotic-free. Last year, Chik-fil-A announced it was dropping antibiotics. And, Chipotle and Panera have sourced meat sans antibiotics for more than a decade. (Way to go, guys!)

And wait, there’s more good news: McD’s also plans to serve up milk from cows that haven’t been treated with an artificial growth hormone. While these changes are promising, there’s still work to be done and concerns about the verification of McDonald’s new processing procedures.

Today, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY, a congresswoman and microbiologist who has been fighting for antibiotic-free farming, made it clear that all eyes on the restaurant chain to live up to its promises.

“Today’s announcement from McDonalds is encouraging, but until there is an enforceable, verifiable limit on agricultural antibiotic use, we will have no way to verify whether chicken raised on medically important antibiotics has been truly phased out,” she said in a statement to ABCNews. “Furthermore, I have called on McDonald’s to also phase out beef raised on medically important antibiotics, and I will continue to press them on that front.”

Perhaps one day out McRib’s and Big Mac’s will be antibiotic-free too. But, until then, cheers to healthier McNuggets.

(Images via Tumblr.com and McDonalds) 

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