Yum's KFC to Curb Antibiotic Use in the Chickens it Buys

Yum's KFC to Curb Antibiotic Use in the Chickens it Buys

The leading chicken chain, owned by Yum Brands Inc, is giving its USA poultry suppliers until the end of 2018 to stop using antibiotics important to human medicine. "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".

"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. Officials say it can lead to germs becoming resistant to drugs, making antibiotics no longer effective in treating some illnesses in humans.

There is some evidence that such actions can improve sales: McDonald's Corp. said sales of its Chicken McNuggets increased previous year, after the company said it removed antibiotics from the menu item.

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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".

"To extend our [antibiotics] commitment beyond our boneless menu items to include 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", Vijay Sukumar, chief food innovation officer for KFC U.S., said in a statement.

The chain, with 4,200 restaurants across the nation, said Friday it is cutting antibiotics from both its boneless and on-the-bone chicken.

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"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. "While federal antibiotics policy stagnates, the market is responding to consumer demand for better meat".

U.S. PIRG and its partners - including Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Consumers Union, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) - delivered a letter signed by more than eighty consumer, health, and environmental organizations to Yum! Although most of its menu is now free of food dyes, it will be completely rid of them by this year's end, excluding beverages and third-party products, according to the release.

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. Brands which owns the quick service restaurant.

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At least some of KFC suppliers are already well on their way to compliance.

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