Consumer and public health advocates are applauding the latest pledge by a fast food chain to phase out its use of chickens raised on antibiotics.
Kentucky Fried Chicken has announced that by the end of 2018, all chicken purchased by the company will be raised without receiving any of the antibiotics that are important to human medicine. Mathew Wellington, field director of the National Antibiotics program with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said the move makes sense given the global concern about the rise of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”
Farmers use antibiotics to grow chickens faster and prevent diseases in crowded conditions. Reuters has reported that some poultry producers are turning to sanitizing wipes and bacteria-reducing fog to keep birds healthy.
Wellington said PIRG, along with other consumer groups, has been active in asking other national chains to end their use of poultry raised with antibiotics. But he said this move by KFC is in an entirely different league.
According to Wellington, about 70 percent of the medically important antibiotics currently sold in the U.S. are purchased for use on livestock and poultry.