As with every All-Access trip, our published polls readers for questions and has promised to find the answers.  Here they are!

Q: What about vaccines, antibiotics and hormones used in chicken products?

A: Vaccines are administered once throughout the chickens’ life to prevent the birds from dying of diseases and improve the health of the whole flock. In order to feed millions of people and remove undue suffering of the animals, McDonald’s and Cargill’s policy is to vaccinate. Antibiotics are only given if a bird tests positive for illness, which would put the entire flock at risk. Antibiotics require a vet prescription and a strict withdrawal period is adhered to before the chicken is turned into food to ensure that no residual medications are present in the product.

McDonald’s has a global antibiotic policy. It is a policy that has been developed with the assistance of scientists and industry experts. Given that McDonald’s is required to process 90,000 birds per day in Canada alone to feed its customers, the company has a keen interest in making sure the industry is sustainable. The pre-emptive use of antibiotics is not allowed, nor does it allow sub-therapeutic use. Even the feedmills that produce the grains fed to chickens have to be accredited and constantly audited.

Hormones are illegal in Canada for use in chicken and in dairy.  This is due to the withdrawal period that is required.  There is not enough time for hormone elimination in milk and chickens. That’s why there are no hormones allowed. Beef has more time in withdrawal period and is therefore acceptable to use hormones before it is processed for meat production.

Q: People have asked me why there are so many ingredients in McNuggets and why the ingredients are so chemical-sounding?

A: McDonald’s is very careful about listing ingredients for allergy reasons and ingredients that could be bundled together are separated out to help people who may have an allergy.  Chemical names are used which might sound more complicated than they are (they say sodium bicarbonate instead baking soda, for instance).

For the full post on chicken please chick here.