Burger King aims to make the change in US stores in 2017 and in Canada in 2018
Burger King aims to make the change in US stores in 2017 and in Canada in 2018

Burger King to cut use of antibiotics in its chicken as part of superbug fight

McDonald's has already removed all antibiotics important to human medicine from its US chicken supply chain

Tom Polansek,Lisa Baertlein
Thursday 29 December 2016 11:21
Comments

Burger King plans to switch to chicken raised without antibiotics considered "critically important" to human medicine, their owner said on Wednesday, making it the latest company to ditch the drugs over health concerns.

Restaurant Brands International Inc said it aims to make the change in US stores in 2017 and in Canada in 2018.

An estimated 70 per cent of antibiotics that are important to fighting human infections and ensuring the safety of invasive procedures such as surgeries are sold for use in meat and dairy production.

Concern has been growing among scientists, public health experts, consumers and shareholders that the overuse of such drugs is contributing to rising numbers of life-threatening human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria dubbed "superbugs."

Anger at BBC Newsbeat over asking 'do black people like fried chicken?'

"We believe that it is important to reduce the use of antibiotics important for human medicine in order to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in both veterinary and human medicine," Restaurant Brands said.

The company did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 2 million people in the United States are infected with drug-resistant bacteria each year and that 23,000 die as a direct result.

Officials with health advocacy group As You Sow said they have been working with Restaurant Brands on its antibiotics policy for more than a year.

In February, the group withdrew a shareholder proposal calling on the company to develop a stricter policy after Restaurant Brands agreed to address the issue before the end of 2016.

Austin Wilson, environmental health program manager for As You Sow, said the company's new plan represented progress. Still, he said it was "disappointing, since it is weaker than the standards set in the last year or two by Tyson, McDonald’s and Wendy’s."

McDonald's Corp has already removed all antibiotics important to human medicine from its US chicken supply chain, and Wendy's Co said in August it would quit using chickens raised with antibiotics important to human health by 2017.

Tyson Foods Inc, the biggest US chicken processor, has said it intends to stop using all antibiotics important to human medicine to raise its chickens in 2017.

Restaurant Brands is only eliminating drugs that are "the most critical in human medicine" from its supply, Mr Wilson said.

Yum Brands Inc's KFC stands out as the last major chicken chain to make a move on curbing antibiotic use.

KFC has far more restaurants than any other fast-food chicken chain and is second in sales behind Chick-fil-A, which has committed to finishing its switch to chicken raised without any antibiotics by the end of 2019.

As You Sow has filed a shareholder proposal requesting that Yum phase out harmful antibiotics from its meat supply in a bid to prompt changes at KFC.

Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in