McDonald’s will stop serving chicken from birds raised with the use of antibiotics that are important to human medicine at its restaurants in Canada. The proposed change is expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2018.

“Our guests want food that they feel great about eating – all the way from the farm to the restaurant – and this move takes another step toward better delivering on those expectations,” said John Betts, President and CEO, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd.

McDonald’s USA has been working closely with farmers for years to reduce the use of antibiotics in its poultry supply and in March announced it would phase out serving meat from chickens treated with the use of antibiotics also used in human medicine over the next two years. 

This new Canadian sourcing policy supports McDonald’s Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals introduced in March this year, which builds on the 2003 global antibiotics policy and includes supplier guidance on the thoughtful use of antibiotics in all food animals. 

All of the chicken served at McDonald’s more than 1,400 Canadian restaurants, including in its iconic Chicken McNuggets, comes from Canadian chicken farmers and McDonald’s Canada will work closely with industry to implement the new antibiotics policy in its chicken supply chain within the next three years.

“McDonald’s believes antibiotics have important benefits, but that a few sensible changes to our policy can both maintain their most important benefits while helping to reduce their use overall,” said Rob Dick, senior director of McDonald’s Canada supply chain.

While McDonald’s Canada will only source chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, the farmers who supply chicken for its menu will continue to responsibly use ionophores, a type of antibiotic not used for humans that helps keep chickens healthy.

The announcement concerning antibiotics in chickens is the latest step in McDonald’s journey to evolve its menu to better meet the changing preferences and expectations of its guests. in September McDonald’s announced it would transition to 100 percent cage-free eggs in its U.S. and Canadian restaurants over the next 10 years.