• KFC Bans Human Antibiotics in Chicken

KFC Bans Human Antibiotics in Chicken (Photo : Getty Images)

KFC is planning to cut the use of antibiotics in chickens supplied to its outlets in the United States. It will be the last of the three largest chicken chains to participate in the battle against the rise of superbugs, the harmful drug-resistant bacteria.

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The fast food giant, under Yum Brands Inc, is the second to the largest U.S. chicken chain based on sales next to privately held Chick-fil-A.

KFC’s U.S. poultry suppliers have until the end of 2018 to halt the use of antibiotics critical to human medicine.

Around 70 percent of antibiotics crucial or fighting diseases in humans are applied in meat and dairy production. Medical researchers have raised the issue of antibiotic resistance in microbes due to overuse of drugs, decreasing the effectiveness of antibiotics in combating infections in humans.

Last year, about 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. stopped serving chicken that have been raised with antibiotics deemed critical to human medicine. The change did not have any negative effect to its top-selling Chicken McNuggets, pressuring other chicken chains to follow.

Chick-fil-A is going the extra mile. In 2014, the chain pledged to replace its poultry supply with chickens raised without the use of any antibiotics. The switch is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

KFC, with its reputation and standing in the market, has been the target of several antibiotic reduction campaigns by consumer, health and environmental organizations. An alliance of British and American shareholders with above $2 trillion worth of assets under management is also into the drive.

“We recognize that it’s a growing public health concern,” said Kevin Hochman, KFC President in the U.S., to Reuters.

“This is something that’s important to many of our customers and it’s something we need to do to show relevance and modernity within our brand,” he added.

According to Hochman, the policy will be implemented only in KFC outlets in the U.S. and its 4,200 restaurants supplied by around 2,000 local chicken farms.

He added that the antibiotic policy is set on a country-by-country basis. In November, Yum has spun off its China division which is dominated by KFC.

Tyson, the largest poultry producer in the U.S., has said that it will stop the use of human antibiotics in raising chicken by September of the current year.

KFC hopes to address the growing public health concern on drug overuse by cutting the use of antibiotics in the chickens in its supply chain.