As KFC changes policy, Yum shareholders pull proposal on cutting antibiotics

“Antibiotics should only be used to treat disease and not wasted on healthy livestock to make them grow faster or to compensate for filthy conditions on factory farms”, Halloran said.

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.

KFC will serve chicken raised without human antibiotics in the U.S.by the end of 2018, the company said Friday, adding its considerable weight to the push to change the way poultry is treated.

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.

Chick-fil-A is going a step further, vowing in 2014 to switch to poultry raised without any antibiotics at all by the end of 2019. The company says that all of the chicken sold in its USA locations will be raised without these controversial drugs by the end of 2018.

The NRDC, which has helped lead the push, estimated that 40 percent of the chicken industry is now either under an antibiotics commitment or is already using responsible practices. The group endorses KFC’s move.

Many medical scientists regard farm use of drugs that treat human infections as particularly risky because the practice risks promoting superbugs that can defeat life-saving human antibiotics. “It required close collaboration with more than 2,000 farms, majority family-owned and managed, in more than a dozen US states where they raise our chickens”. The company also plans to switch its retail line of Tyson-branded chicken products to birds raised without any antibiotics.Perdue Farms, a competitor, said it eliminated the routine use of all antibiotics in chicken previous year.

More information about these changes and additional ingredient work are available at kfc.com/responsibility. That meant its suppliers needed to find other buyers before being able to curb use of the drugs to satisfy KFC, the company said. The chain, which has been the bane of some medical and animal rights groups for its resistance to this move, said its announcement today marks the first time a major national U.S. QSR chain has committed to using hens raised this way for bone-in chicken.

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. 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. While several fast food restaurants have agreed to use antibiotic-free chicken, it has largely been limited to boneless chicken.

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