Just as it announced last week that it’s going to stop serving chicken products that contain antibiotics in all of its U.S. locations, McDonald’s made another noteworthy announcement: It’s ditching some rBST-laden milk products from its menus as well.
Common beverage choices for its kid’s Happy Meals, McDonald’s says it’s replacing its Milk Jug low-fat, and fat-free chocolate choices with rBST-free milk products instead. rBST, or recombinant bovine somatotropin, is the synthetic growth hormone given to cows to increase production.
While the FDA considers rBST to be a safe food additive, cows treated with the hormone produce milk with higher levels of IGF-1, an insulin-like chemical that has been connected with an increased cancer risk. It’s also been linked to early puberty in girls, making rBST a controversial ingredient for some time, with many dairy manufacturers phasing out use of the drug amid public concern over its risks.
“While no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows, we understand this is something that is important to our customers,” Marion Gross, McDonald’s VP of North American supply chain, said in Food Navigator.
“Our customers want food that they feel great about eating—all the way from the farm to the restaurant—and these moves take a step towards better delivering on those expectations, McDonald’s U.S. President Mike Andres said in a statement.
But while it says it will no longer serve rBST Milk Jugs, McDonald’s didn’t say it would phase out other ingredients containing rBST-contaminated dairy products, such as cheese or sauce ingredients, ice cream or milkshake products. Likewise, with announcing that it will move away from antibiotics in its chicken products, McDonald’s didn’t make any announcements about committing to antibiotic-free pork or beef products in the immediate future. But if it’s sensitive to consumer concerns, it’s only a matter of time.
Image: Christian Heindel
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