McDonald's chicken nuggets© Aflo/REX/Shutterstock

More than 10,000 people have emailed McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbook demanding the company stops using chicken and other meat and dairy products that have routinely been given antibiotics.

McDonald’s has stopped using chicken fed with antibiotics in the US but it cannot avoid buying chicken with antibiotics in China and so cannot sell antibiotics-free meat in all of its 30,000 global stores.

The petition, brought about charity ShareAction, is urging more people to email the fast-food outlet, claiming that in the US, antibiotics resistance causes more than two million human illnesses and at least 23,000 deaths each year.

ShareAction claims this costs between $55bn-$70bn (£41bn-£53bn) annually.

See also: Latest advances in science for poultry farmers

“There is no time to wait when it comes to our public health.

“We need the companies like McDonalds who are overusing antibiotics to act now.

“The more of us who email CEO Steve Easterbrook now, the bigger our impact will be.”

McDonald’s said in a press release last month it would only serve chicken not treated with antibiotics important to human medicines, saying it had achieved this commitment nearly a year ahead of schedule.

McDonald’s originally set out to achieve its antibiotics chicken commitment by March 2017.

But less than two weeks later it admitted that it will continue to use poultry treated with antibiotics in China.