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by Jasmyn Preston

McDonalds: The antibiotic resistance

To say that I have a frog in my throat is a severe understatement. A more accurate simile is having a radioactively modified mutant frog being lodged at the top of my gullet. I know the symptoms of cold sweats, piercing headache and radioactive amphibian means that I have tonsillitis and yet I know that when I do drag my diseased tonsils and body to the doctors that the usual fight will ensue. I won’t get antibiotics until it is too severe, I won’t get them taken out until that severity has become consistent.

The reason for the austerity of antibiotics is the doctors’ worst nightmare, the build up of the bacterial resistance. I can get on board therefore with this. However claims have been made by animal welfare organizations that although we are restricted in taking antibiotics, our cattle and livestock is being fed antibiotics in vast doses to rectify the abhorrent living conditions that they are currently living in. One culprit of this has been pointed to McDonalds the quick and easy food chain that has taken over the world. Feeling peckish at the pyramids? Don’t worry a McDonald’s is never far away. If proven accurate the fallout of these claims could be substantial.

WHO (The World Health Organization) has identified the AMR (Antimicrobial Resistance) as a key concern. They go onto state that “AMR threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. Without effective antibiotics, the success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be compromised. Globally, 480 000 people develop multi-drug resistant TB each year and drug resistance is starting to complicate the fight against HIV and malaria, as well.”

WHO confirms that Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally over time, although, “The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is accelerating this process. In many places, antibiotics are overused and misused in people and animals and often given without professional oversight”. So if the claims are proven to be true will the UK, America and almost every country that we can name take Iceland’s lead and put a ban on the “I’m loving it” proclaimers?

Food for thought may be why their livestock could possibly need so many antibiotics in the first place? There have previously been petitions for McDonalds to remove the antibiotics from its poultry and their process has been successfully altered, however there are claims that there is still an antibiotic presence in the beef.

If this news nugget hasn’t been enough to put you off your Big Mac, spare a thought for the last hamburger that is sitting in Iceland. The last one that was served has been on display since October 2009 and it has yet to disintegrate, mould or indeed change at all. The pickle disintegrated but the burger and bun has remained intact. So maybe the question isn’t whether or not there is antibiotics in the burgers, but what else is in there?