KFC's commitment is a significant addition to this progress because it could push the USA chicken industry over the threshold for better antibiotic stewardship.
"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.
Kentucky Fried Chicken-the largest chicken-on-the-bone quick service restaurant in the USA -today committed to phasing out chicken raised with antibiotics important to human medicine in its US stores by the end of 2018.
"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. Customers can now order sandwiches made with chickens raised w... "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 told Reuters.
The chain, owned by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc.
KFC also recently pledged to eliminate artificial colors and flavors from all of its core products by the end of 2018 and to have 100% of the menu, except for drinks and third-party products, free of food dyes by the end of this year.
With the move, KFC became the last major chicken restaurant to join the fight to against unsafe superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics.
KFC is among the largest buyers of chicken in the country, and estimates suggest that the company's move could create a positive rippling effect through the chicken industry, U.S. PIRG's release stated.
Yum spun off its KFC-dominated China division in November. KFC's new policy will likely move this percentage even higher.
The announcement comes in response to health advocates who've long urged the company to reconsider its antibiotic policies, warning KFC that the life-saving medicines need to be preserved. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news. "Their commitment is one that we've been waiting for".
Hochman said the policy change has been in the works for a year.
At least some of KFC suppliers are already well on their way to compliance.
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. Its Pizza Hut division has the same rules for pizza toppings.