It will focus on removing those antibiotics that can have an impact on human health, but keep those necessary for poultry welfare.
Chicken served in its US restaurants will be free of such antibiotics within two years, it said.
In Europe, McDonald’s is also phasing out the use of certain “critically important” antibiotics.
There are concerns that the overuse of antibiotics in chicken may reduce the drugs’ effectiveness in humans.
McDonald’s has been battling to win back customers amid slowing sales.
Many poultry producers in US give their birds antibiotics to make them grow faster. But overuse of the drugs could lead to them becoming less effective in treating illness and disease in humans.
In a statement, Marion Gross, senior vice-president of North America supply chain, said that McDonald’s “believes that any animals that become ill deserve appropriate veterinary care and our suppliers will continue to treat poultry with prescribed medications. But after treatment, the bird “will no longer be included in our food supply”.
However, McDonald’s chicken will be given ionophores, an antibiotic which helps keep chickens healthy but is not used for humans.
The company also said that US dairy products, such as low fat white milk and fat-free chocolate milk, would be derived from cows that have not been treated with rbST – an artificial growth hormone.
“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,” Ms Gross said.
The changes come in response to growing consumer demand for food made with natural ingredients only.
We’re not used to praising McDonald’s, but FoodFacts.com does feel that it’s important to acknowledge improvements when they are made. Good job, McDonald’s. Now if you could only start eliminating the controversial ingredients included in your products, we’d really be on to something.