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Burger King the fast food chain and Tim Hortons its sister company announced big changes for the upcoming new year.
Both of the chains will start serving just chicken that did not receive antibiotics, a move the owner of each brand Restaurant Brands International called critically important for our consumers.
The changes are expected by Restaurant Brands to be implemented fully in stores across the U.S. during 2017 and by 2018 in Canada.
According to an FDA report, approximately 70% of all the antibiotics used in the U.S. are used on farm animals. The agency estimates that today only 20% of all antibiotics, which were developed originally to protect humans, are actually used to treat humans with infections.
The practice of feeding farm animals antibiotics, say commercial farmers, helps to promote the growth of animals and keeps them free of any diseases as they are raised in spaces that are increasingly more crowded.
However, the use of antibiotics has been tied to the development of pathogens that are drug resistant known as superbugs and considered by most medical experts as a time bomb ready to explode for health around the world.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that a minimum of 2 million people in the U.S. are infected with bacteria that is drug resistant each year and as many as 23,000 die directly from that bacteria.
Although the company has committed to change, one manager of an environmental health program is disappointed with the plan, saying it was weaker than ones set over the past couple of years by McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Tyson.
McDonald’s has removed antibiotics that are important to human medicine from its chicken supply in the U.S., while Wendy’s said this past August it was ending its use of poultry with antibiotics by next year.
Tyson Food, the largest chicken processor in the U.S. said it is intending to stop using antibiotics for human medicine to raise chickens by 2017.
Pressure is building from consumers and shareholders to change relative to antibiotics said authors from one study that was carried out by a consortium of food and consumer safety groups.
The study said that in 2016 twice the amount of surveyed companies were giving a passing grade in comparison to 2015.
The report also added that the results reflect commitments by those moving to transition their supplies of chicken away from use of antibiotics.