Opinion: Pork farming: the next battlefield for fighting antibiotic resistance

In its four-month journey from piglet to slaughter, each of the nearly 1 billion pigs on the planet will consume 2.5 times the amount of antibiotics as the average European…
Source: GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

McDonald’s recently announced it will begin phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics in its global beef supply chain, building on its experience phasing out such antibiotics from its chicken supply. Other retail food chains have also made progress. Now it’s time to take aim at pork.

McDonald’s promise is a commendable step in addressing antimicrobial resistance, one of our most pressing global health challenges. It’s also an important signal that consumers hold power to shift food industry practices toward sustainability.

Nearly a century ago, Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin launched modern medical practice into the antibiotic era. His discovery, and those that followed, are credited with saving untold millions of lives and enabling landmark medical breakthroughs. Yet decades of inattentive use — for purposes as different as treating viral infections, for which antibiotics are ineffective, to the industrial production of beef, chicken, pork, and seafood — now risks throwing away the

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