Yum Brands Inc's YUM.N KFC on Friday became the last of the big three USA chicken restaurants to move away from antibiotics important to human medicine.
Tyson, the largest US poultry producer and a KFC supplier, has announced plans to eliminate the use of human antibiotics in its chicken flocks by September 2017.
"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. KFC's commitment is a significant addition to this progress because it could push the US chicken industry over the threshold for better antibiotic stewardship.
KFC is the last of the big three chicken restaurants to join the fight against the rise of unsafe antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs.
The vast majority of all antibiotics used in the United States now are given not to people, but to farm animals.
"This announcement is a win for anybody who might someday depend on antibiotics to get well or even save their lives - i.e. everybody", Wellington added.
The Southern-themed fast-food maker, which even I have to admit I've enjoyed from time to time (those mashed potatoes might not be fresh, but they're pretty damn tasty), is now the second-biggest US chicken chain. "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 US and in the fight against the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections". Chick-fil-A has said that by 2019 it will only serve chicken that has never been given any antibiotics.
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"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 US and in the fight against the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections", Brook said. 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 parent company of KFC, Yum! On the plus side, the move could result in generally healthier birds since farms will be less crowded.
"To extend our commitment beyond our boneless menu items to all of our chicken required detailed and thoughtful planning over the past year, including utilizing the USDA's Process Verified program to ensure our suppliers can meet our requirements", said Vijay Sukumar, chief food innovation officer for KFC U.S.
The suppliers have improved hygiene and airflow in chicken houses to keep birds healthy and given them more room to move, Vijay Sukumar, chief food innovation officer for KFC's US operations, told Reuters on Friday.
"Antibiotic resistance makes treatment of bacterial infections harder, increases how long people are sick, and makes it more likely that patients will die", according to the Chain Reaction II report.
This included delivering more than 350,000 petitions to the chicken giant last summer.
Hochman said the policy change has been in the works for a year.