By the end of 2018, KFC in the United States will use only chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, the company announced.
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The antibiotics-free policy includes bone-in chicken, chicken tenders and popcorn chicken.
KFC said it has been working with more than 2,000 farms across the U.S. to make the change.
Experts in public health have raised the alarm over the past decade regarding the overuse of antibiotics in poultry and livestock. Such overuse can lead to the emergence of dangerously antibiotic "superbug" germs that pose a dire threat to human health.
In a news release, the environmental advocacy group the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) applauded KFC's move.
"KFC's new policy will be a game-changer for the fast food industry and public health," said Lena Brook, food policy advocate at NRDC. "While federal antibiotics policy stagnates, the market is responding to consumer demand for better meat. This commitment from the nation's most iconic fast food chicken chain will have a major impact on the way the birds are raised in the U.S. and in the fight against the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections."
KFC also said by the end of next year, all of its core products will be free of artificial colors and flavors.
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