Chicken supply will be antibiotic-free by 2017 in the US.

OAKVILLE, Ontario – Restaurant Brands International, parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, committed to eliminating the use of antibiotics “critically important” to human medicine from the company’s poultry supply chain in the United States in 2017 and in Canada in 2018.

In a statement posted to the company’s website, RBI said “In order for our brands to provide high quality, safe food to our guests, we believe that we have a responsibility to ensure the health and welfare of food animals.

“We recognize that antibiotics play an important and delicate role in animal well-being and human health. Antibiotics are sometimes required to control and treat disease to maintain animal health and welfare. We require our suppliers to purchase products only from farmers that administer antibiotics in a judicious and responsible manner when treatment is necessary, in keeping with veterinary and regulatory requirements.”

The company has been collaborating with a working group of suppliers and academics in addition to monitoring guidance from the World Health Organization, the US Food and Drug Administration and other experts on the issue of antibiotic resistance.

In September, the company committed to a timeline for sourcing only 100 percent cage-free eggs and eliminating gestation crates for pigs.

RBI will extend its current cage-free egg policy to Latin America to prohibit eggs sourced from caged hens there by 2025. Gestation crates for pigs will be eliminated in North America by 2022 and Latin America by 2025.