Published: Sat, April 08, 2017
Finance | By Laverne Griffith

KFC to end antibiotics in chicken by 2018

KFC to end antibiotics in chicken by 2018

By the end of 2018, KFC said all birds used in its United States restaurants will come from farms where hens are raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine. Estimates suggest the company's newfound commitment could lead to a majority of the USA chicken industry no longer raising birds with the routine use of medically important antibiotics.

KFC will curb the use of chicken raised with antibiotics important to human medicine, the company said Friday, becoming the last of the big three chicken restaurants to join the fight against the rise of unsafe antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs. And KFC has been profiled in the annual "Chain Reaction" antibiotics scorecard published by NRDC and other advocacy groups, grading top restaurant chains on their antibiotics policies.

KFC reports they will require their suppliers to work with the USDA Process Verified Program to ensure that production practices comply with the company's commitments.

The announcement is the latest move in KFC's US brand "turnaround", which it labels the "re-colonelization" of KFC.

KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain.

The fried chicken chain says the change will be completed by the end of next year at all of its US restaurants. Officials have said that it can lead to germs becoming resistant to drugs, making antibiotics no longer effective in treating some illnesses in humans. "The market is responding to consumer demand for better meat".

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Matthew Wellington, antibiotics program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said the policy change "should have lasting effects on the way these life-saving medicines are used in the chicken industry". 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.

For one thing, KFC is a big buyer - it's the largest chicken-on-the-bone quick-service chain in the country.

A shareholder resolution filed by the non-profit group As You Sow with KFC outlined the business risks involved in companies that are not keeping pace with growing consumer concern around antibiotic overuse.

"It's great news for fried chicken lovers, and most importantly it's great news for public health", Brook said.

This practice contributes to the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections in humans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least two million Americans are already infected with antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and at least 23,000 die as a direct result.

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