Economy

KFC to stop using chickens raised with human antibiotics

KFC to stop using chickens raised with human antibiotics

McDonald's, Wendy's, Chick fil-A - even KFC's corporate cousins at Taco Bell and Pizza Hut - have all already made some commitment to sourcing chickens that are raised with fewer, or no, antibiotics.

KFC, the Yum Brands Inc. chicken chain, said Friday that it has committed to purchasing chicken raised without antibiotics important to humans by the end of 2018. While several fast food restaurants have agreed to use antibiotic-free chicken, it has largely been limited to boneless chicken.

The policy applies only to KFC in the United States and its 4,200 restaurants supplied by some 2,000 domestic chicken farms, said Hochman.

"This policy is good news for modern medicine and for long-term shareholder value", said Austin Wilson, environmental health program manager at As You Sow. "It required close collaboration with more than 2,000 farms, majority family-owned and managed, in more than a dozen U.S. states where they raise our chickens".

"We share the public's concern about.antimicrobial resistance", said Kevin Hochman, president of KFC U.S.

"This commitment from the nation's most iconic fast-food chicken chain will have a major impact on the way the birds are raised in the USA and in the fight against the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections", Brook said.

He adds that this announcement is definitely a big win for anyone who might, someday, depend on antibiotics as a means to sustain life. "It's time for all fast food restaurants to help ensure antibiotics keep working by rejecting meat and poultry suppliers who misuse these vital drugs". KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum!

That same report gave KFC - which is owned by Yum Brands - an "F" grade for its antibiotics policies and practices a year ago.

Routinely feeding antibiotics to animals raised for food has been linked to the surge in resistant strains of bacteria that cause serious human illnesses, blamed for about 23,000 additional deaths annually and $55 million in healthcare costs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As large buyers like KFC increase their demand for drug-free birds, the hope is that more farmers will shift away from overusing antibiotics.

There is some evidence that such actions can improve sales: McDonald's Corp. said sales of its Chicken McNuggets increased previous year, after the company said it removed antibiotics from the menu item.