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KFC to stop using chickens raised with human antibiotics

KFC to stop using chickens raised with human antibiotics

KFC said Friday that it will stop serving chickens raised with certain antibiotics.

Matthew Wellington, program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, a consumer group, said KFC's move alone could push the percentage of the chicken industry under an antibiotics commitment or already using responsible practices to more than 50 percent.

"We didn't do it alone; we've been working with more than 2,000 farms across the country - a lot of them family owned and managed - to make this change", Hochman wrote.

Approximately 70 percent of medically important antibiotics sold in the United States are for use on livestock and poultry, the release added, stating that the drugs are often fed to animals that aren't sick in order to promote growth and prevent disease. But the practice has become a public health issue, as it can lead to germs becoming resistant to drugs. And McDonald's Corp. has stopped using chickens raised with antibiotics important to human medicine for its McNuggets.

With the move, KFC became the last major chicken restaurant to join the fight to against unsafe superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics.

"This commitment from the nation's most iconic fast-food chicken chain will have a major impact on the way the birds are raised in the US and in the fight against the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections", Brook said.

Kentucky Fried Chicken was the last holdout of the big three chicken restaurants, after McDonald's and Chick-fil-A, to join the fight against the risky rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs and decide to drop their use.

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"We recognize that it's a growing public health concern", KFC U.S. President Kevin Hochman told Reuters. "The market is responding to consumer demand for better meat". Brands Headquarters, almost 5,000 consumer calls into KFC's customer service line, and hundreds of social media actions directed at KFC (using #KFCsaveABX). The company said 100-percent of its menu, excluding beverages and third-party products, would be free of food dyes by the end of the year.

KFC's new policy will likely move the number even higher, said Lena Brook, a food policy advocate at the NRDC, who noted that the estimate includes "raised without antibiotics" pledges as well as "raised without medically important" antibiotics pledges from producers like Tyson Foods Inc (TSN), Perdue Farms and others.

More information about these changes and additional ingredient work are available at kfc.com/responsibility.

Human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose a grave threat to global health.

Conservatively, at least 2 million Americans are already infected with antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and at least 23,000 die as a direct result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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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