"Making this change was complex and took a lot of planning", said KFC U.S. President and Chief Concept Officer Kevin Hochman, in a news release.
The announcement is the latest move in KFC's USA brand "turnaround", which it labels the "re-colonelization" of KFC.
The chain, with 4,200 restaurants across the nation, said Friday it is cutting antibiotics from both its boneless and on-the-bone chicken.
The move is part of a growing trend within the fast food industry, with other chains including Burger King and McDonald's (mcd) moving away from using antibiotics in chicken products, USA Today reports.
"Eliminating medically important antibiotics from the chicken we serve in our U.S. restaurants, while keeping the health and well-being of the flocks in mind, was important in our decision to make this commitment", said Vijay Sukumar, chief food innovation officer for KFC U.S. Its Chicken McNuggets are a top seller and the change put pressure on the rest of the industry to follow.
Meat producers often give animals antibiotics to make them grow faster and prevent illnesses.
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KFC, the second-biggest US chicken chain by sales after privately held Chick-fil-A, on Thursday told Reuters that it has given its chicken suppliers until the end of 2018 to phase out the use of antibiotics important to human medicine. It says that it hopes this will help act as a sign for other restaurant chains to make the same changes. Customers can now order sandwiches made with chickens raised w... A coalition of consumer and public health groups, including U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group), had urged the company to act on the issue.
"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. "The company's newfound commitment on antibiotics should have lasting effects on the way these life-saving medicines are used in the chicken industry".
"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", Hochman said. Brands which owns the quick service restaurant. As you've probably heard by now, using antibiotics like these in food is risky because it builds up our immunity to the drugs, making them less effective in fighting disease when we really need them.
Routinely feeding antibiotics to animals raised for food has been linked to the surge in resistant strains of bacteria that cause serious human illnesses, blamed for about 23,000 additional deaths annually and $55 million in healthcare costs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Yum spun off its KFC-dominated China division in November.