KFC said it its working with more than 2,000 poultry farms around the U.S.to make the change.
The Southern-themed fast-food maker, which even I have to admit I've enjoyed from time to time (those mashed potatoes might not be fresh, but they're pretty damn tasty), is now the second-biggest USA chicken chain.
KFC is aiming to stop using chicken with antibiotics in it from the end of 2018.
Approximately 70 percent of medically important antibiotics sold in the United States are for use on livestock and poultry, the release added, stating that the drugs are often fed to animals that aren't sick in order to promote growth and prevent disease.
For one thing, KFC is a big buyer - it's the largest chicken-on-the-bone quick-service chain in the country. But KFC said it believes it is on the cutting edge in trying to go without antibiotics when it comes to on-the-bone chicken.
Today, all KFC chicken (and most of its menu) is free of food dyes, and 100 percent of the menu will be free of food dyes by the end of 2017 (excluding beverages and third-party products).
The KFC U.S. antibiotics commitment is also part of parent company Yum!
Vijay Sukumar, chief food innovation officer for KFC U.S., said the new policy applies throughout the bird's full life cycle, which includes the hatchery where chicks are sometimes injected with antibiotics while still in the shell.
Yum spun off its KFC-dominated China division in November.
Using data from a 2017 WATT PoultryUSA survey, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that more than 42 percent of the USA chicken industry is either under an antibiotics stewardship pledge or has already converted to responsible practices. KFC's new policy will likely move this percentage even higher.
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"It's making much more of a ripple effect", Wellington told Nation's Restaurant News.
Hochman said the policy change has been in the works for a year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least two million Americans are already infected with antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and at least 23,000 die as a direct result.
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. The S&P 500 index is up 15.5% for the last 12 months.