Why McDonald's And Walmart's Beef Suppliers Are Coming Under Fire

The meat used in your McDonald's Big Mac has been recently called into question, with unpublished United States government records falling into the hands of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, according to The Guardian. This isn't the first time that the fast food chain's handling of its livestock items have been called into question. There was the time that some diners claimed that its nuggets are made with pink goop, and another time the chain was accused of serving its customers human meat, both claims that were quickly proven false (via USA Today).

There was even a rumor circulating on the internet that McDonald's treats its meat with ammonia, a type of food preservative which can cause nausea and abdominal pain if ingested (via CDC). And though this urban legend was debunked, the beef suppliers of McDonald's meat, along with Taco Bell and Walmart, were recently called into question for the use of another substance injected into their products.

The suppliers' antibiotics use can be lethal

The beef in your Crunchwrap Supreme is being called into question. A recent investigation found that U.S. farms supplying meat to meat packing firms Cargill, JBS, and Green Bay use a large amount of antibiotics, according to The Guardian. While in meat farming, antibiotics are hard to avoid if an animal gets sick, slaughtered meat must be void of any antibiotics residue before it is sold (via Iowa Farm Bureau). According to Healthline, if antibiotics are ingested secondhand via food, it could cause damage to the immune and reproductive system.

Furthermore, The Guardian states that the use of antibiotics could be linked to superbugs, which the CDC labels as a public health threat, killing 1.3 million people a year globally. The three meat packing firms, which supply meat to McDonald's, Walmart, and Taco Bell, were found to have at least one highest priority critically important (HP-CIA) antibiotic, in samples. These antibiotics are critical for human use and usually a last resort when no other antibiotics are successful (per FutureLearn) — making it vital that bacteria do not develop a resistance to them.

Actively sold antibiotic-laden livestock can endanger human health (via The Guardian), so medical experts are hoping these findings increase consumer and vendor awareness about the use of HP-CIAs in food processing.