Wednesday, 26 April, 2017

KFC to stop using chickens raised with human antibiotics

KFC to stop using chickens raised with antibiotics KFC to stop using chickens raised with human antibiotics
Debra Rodriguez | 19 April, 2017, 01:45

KFC will only serve chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine in its US restaurants by the end of 2018.

Many medical scientists regard farm use of drugs that treat human infections as particularly unsafe because the practice risks promoting superbugs that can defeat life-saving human antibiotics.

Other quick-service chains, such as Chipotle, McDonald's, Burger King, Panera and Wendy's, have made similar pledges to eliminate antibiotics in their chicken. Its Chicken McNuggets are a top seller and the change put pressure on the rest of the industry to follow. A coalition of consumer and public health groups, including U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group), had urged the company to act on the issue.

More specifically, KFC US president and chief concept officer Keven Hochman notes, "We're constantly working to meet the changing preferences of our customers, while ensuring we deliver on the value they expect from KFC".

In the past year, Consumers Union, along with Natural Resource Defense Council, U.S. Public Interest Research Group and others sent petitions signed by almost half a million consumers to Yum Brands, which includes KFC, asking the company to adopt a meaningful no-antibiotics policy. Yum spun off its KFC-dominated China division in November. This applies to the bird's full life cycle, including the hatchery where chicks are sometimes injected with antibiotics while still in the shell.

More than 70 percent of medically important antibiotics in the United States are sold for use on livestock and poultry.

Public health advocates are claiming a win with a new KFC announcement. "Their commitment is one that we've been waiting for". 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.

More information about these changes and additional ingredient work are available at kfc.com/responsibility. It will add some incremental cost that KFC plans to manage rather than pass on in the form of menu price increases, he said.

It'll still be deep fried, but KFC wants to make its chicken a little healthier.

The fast-food chain said the change will be completed by the end of next year at its almost 4,200 restaurants in the US, thus becoming the latest company to switch to more natural and healthy food product. Its Pizza Hut division has the same rules for pizza toppings.

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