KFC announces antibiotics pledge

by Monica Watrous
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KFC bucket of chicken
KFC will only serve chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine in its U.S. restaurants by the end of 2018.

LOUISVILLE, KY. — KFC, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., said it will only serve chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine in its U.S. restaurants by the end of 2018.

Kevin Hochman, KFC
Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer for KFC U.S.

“We’re constantly working to meet the changing preferences of our customers, while ensuring we deliver on the value they expect from KFC,” said Kevin Hochman, president and chief concept officer for KFC U.S. “Offering chicken raised without medically important antibiotics is the next step in that journey. 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 U.S. states where they raise our chickens.”

KFC’s antibiotics pledge is the latest in a series of commitments recently announced to improve the quality of food served at the fast-food chain. Previously, the company said it would eliminate artificial colors and flavors from all core products by the end of 2018. Today, all KFC chicken is free of food dyes, and 100% of the menu will be free of food dyes by the end of 2017, with the exception of beverages and third-party products, the company said.

KFC Chicken
KFC has been in the midst of a brand turnaround in the United States.

“Eliminating medically important antibiotics from the chicken we serve in our U.S. restaurants, while keeping the health and well-being of the flocks in mind, was important in our decision to make this commitment,” said Vijay Sukumar, chief food innovation officer for KFC U.S. “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 U.S.D.A.’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.”

KFC has been in the midst of a brand turnaround in the United States, where recent efforts have included simplifying operations in its restaurants, investing more than 100,000 hours to re-train employees, launching a new marketing campaign and remodeling more than 3,000 restaurants in three years. These initiatives have contributed to 10 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth. 
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