Shareholders, consumer groups press KFC on antibiotics use
Aug. 11, 2016
by Erica Shaffer
As You Sow filed a proposal requesting the company phase out antibiotics in its meat supply chain.
OAKLAND, Calif. – Two shareholders of Yum! Brands stock filed a proposal urging the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands to quickly phase out meat and poultry sourced from animals given antibiotics. Oakland-based As You Sow and the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia co-filed the proposal on Aug. 9.
In April, Taco Bell committed to eliminating antibiotics important to human medicine from its chicken by early 2017; and in May, Pizza Hut pledged to remove from its menus meats containing BHA/BHT and chicken meat sourced from birds raised on antibiotics important to human medicine. KFC has said that by 2017, medically important antibiotics will only be used to maintain flock health and administered under the supervision of a veterinarian. But critics say the policy basically allows for the routine use of antibiotics important to human medicine.
“Yum! Brands’ silence in the face of this looming antibiotic resistance crisis is bad for business,” Austin Wilson, environmental health program manager, said in a news release. “The future is in healthy and sustainable food. Only two in five millennials have ever tried KFC. They are the consumers that care most about sustainable food.”
As You Sow noted that many of Yum’s competitors already have taken action. McDonald’s recently announced the chain phased out medically important antibiotic use in its US chicken supply chain a year ahead of schedule. Wendy’s became the latest restaurant chain to commit to serving antibiotic-free chicken by 2017; and Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill already prohibit unnecessary antibiotic use in food animals supplied to their restaurants.
Joining the call for Yum! Brands to phase out antibiotics is the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Food Animals Concern Trust (FACT) and US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund sent representatives to deliver a petition with more than 350,000 signatures to KFC calling on the chain to stop sourcing chicken from suppliers that use antibiotics to treat birds.
As You Sow is a non-profit organization that advocates environmental and social corporate responsibility leveraging the power of stock ownership in publicly traded companies. The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia is a congregation of more than 400 Catholic women dedicated to public service and ministry.