KFC is making a change to its chicken for health reasons.
On Friday, the Louisville-based fast-food chain issued a letter stating that it will stop purchasing chickens raised with antibiotics by the end of 2018.
"We're constantly working to meet the changing preferences of our customers, while ensuring we deliver on the value they expect from KFC", Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer of KFC U.S., said in a statement. But health experts say it leads to germs becoming resistant to drugs and makes antibiotics ineffective in treating some illnesses in people.
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There is some evidence that such actions can improve sales: McDonald's Corp. said sales of its Chicken McNuggets increased past year, after the company said it removed antibiotics from the menu item. 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.
Two years ago, California poultry producer Foster Farms began eliminating antibiotics from the chicken it sells at supermarkets, following similar steps by fellow poultry giant Perdue, along with restaurant chains McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle and Panera, among others. Brands Headquarters, almost 5,000 consumer calls into KFC's customer service line, and hundreds of social media actions directed at KFC (using #KFCsaveABX).
"This announcement is a win for anybody who might someday depend on antibiotics to get well or even save their lives - i.e. everybody", consumer group antibiotics program director Matthew Wellington said in a press release. (YUM), said it is also in the process of removing artificial colors and flavors from certain menu items by the end of 2018.
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Tapping into widespread consumer demand for meat raised without antibiotics, NRDC and allied groups- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Food Animals Concern Trust, Center for Science in the Public Interest and Consumers Union-have been calling on the company to update their antibiotics policy.
Using data from a 2017 WATT PoultryUSA survey, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that more than 42 percent of the USA chicken industry is either under an antibiotics stewardship pledge or has already converted to responsible practices.
Yum's Taco Bell chain already committed to serve chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine in all USA restaurants by the end of last month.
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More information about these changes and additional ingredient work are available at kfc.com/responsibility.