Tim Horton’s and Burger King will join other restaurants in the switch to serving chicken that has been raised without antibiotics. The owner of the companies, Restaurant Brands International, says it is getting rid of the drug due to health concerns and will be making changes throughout U.S. restaurants this year and in Canada in 2018.
Even though the use of seventy percent of antibiotics, which are beneficial for fighting infection, are approved for use in dairy and meats, the overuse of these drugs in food are aiding in the large number of consumer who develop infections from “superbugs” or antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention around 2 million people suffer from infections from drug-resistant bacteria and nearly 23,000 of those people end up dying because of it.
Health advocate group As You Sow says it is been working with Restaurant Brand for over a year to establish the ban on antibiotics in the foods sold by its restaurants. Although this is a step in the right direction, Austin Wilson, who is health program manager for As You Sow it says that the standard set by Restaurant Brand “is weaker than the standards set in the last year or two by Tyson, McDonald’s and Wendy’s.”
Wendy’s and Tyson announced that it would get rid of chicken containing antibiotic by 2017, whereas McDonald’s already uses antibiotic-free chicken. These companies are eliminating all antibiotics important to medicine in its chicken. Restaurant Brand only said it was getting rid of the “most critical”.
However, Restaurant Brands isn’t the only company late to party. KFC, owned by Yum Brands, is second to Chick-fil-A in sales competition and has yet to make the switch to antibiotic-free chicken. Chick-fil-A hopes to complete its antibiotic-free transition by the end of 2019.
In regards to the new changes being made in its restaurants, Restaurant Brands commented saying, “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.”