By the end of 2018, KFC said all birds used in its U.S. restaurants will come from farms where hens are raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine.
The fried chicken chain says the change will be completed by the end of next year at all of its USA restaurants.
Meat producers often give animals antibiotics to make them grow faster and prevent illnesses. Officials have said that it can lead to germs becoming resistant to drugs, making antibiotics no longer effective in treating some illnesses in humans. Industry leaders including Subway, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, McDonald's and others have made various commitments to eliminate unnecessary antibiotic use from their supply chains.
"We recognize that KFC had to choose between business as usual with their chicken suppliers or demanding that they raise chickens in a manner that doesn't hasten the end of antibiotics", Wellington said in the release. This move marks the first time a major national quick service restaurant (QSR) chain in the US has extended an antibiotics commitment beyond boneless chicken to its chicken-on-the-bone menu items.
The chain, with 4,200 restaurants across the nation, said Friday it is cutting antibiotics from both its boneless and on-the-bone chicken.
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U.S. PIRG and its partners - including Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Consumers Union, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) - delivered a letter signed by more than eighty consumer, health, and environmental organizations to Yum!
For one thing, KFC is a big buyer - it's the largest chicken-on-the-bone quick-service chain in the country. "While federal antibiotics policy stagnates, the market is responding to consumer demand for better meat". The company said 100-percent of its menu, excluding beverages and third-party products, would be free of food dyes by the end of the year.
The CDC estimates that 23,000 people die each year from 17 types of antibiotic-resistant infections and that an additional 15,000 die from a pathogen linked to long-term antibiotic use.
Right now the policy will only take effect at KFCs in the USA, so you might want to hold off on eating at the chain if and when you travel outside the country - oh, and obviously until the 2018 antibiotic ban takes effect. The group endorses KFC's move.
Yum's Taco Bell chain already committed to serve chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine in all USA restaurants by the end of last month.