LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) announced today that by the end of 2018, KFC US will only purchase chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine. According to a statement from KFC Corporation, this marks the first time a major national quick service chain restaurant in the US has committed to antibiotic free chicken-on-the-bone menu items as well as boneless.
"We're constantly working to meet the changing preferences of our customers, while ensuring we deliver on the value they expect from KFC. Offering chicken raised without medically important antibiotics is the next step in that journey," said Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer for KFC US. "Making this change was complex and took a lot of planning. It required close collaboration with more than 2,000 farms, most of them family-owned and managed, in more than a dozen US states where they raise our chickens."
"KFC's new policy will be a game-changer for the fast food industry and public health," said Lena Brook, food policy advocate at National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "The market is responding to consumer demand for better meat. 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."
Also, recently KFC made the commitment to eliminate artificial colors and flavors by the end of 2018 and by the end of this year, its menu will be 100 percent free of food dyes (excluding third-party products and beverages).
"Eliminating medically important antibiotics from the chicken we serve in our US restaurants, while keeping the health and well-being of the flocks in mind, was important in our decision to make this commitment," Vijay Sukumar, chief food innovation officer for KFC US said in a statement. "To extend our commitment beyond our boneless menu items to 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. We're proud to make a commitment this expansive and believe this change will aid in shifting the rest of the industry."
The KFC US antibiotics commitment is also part of parent company Yum! Brands' efforts in sustainable sourcing and food production, including its global position on Good Antimicrobial Stewardship.