Burger King and Tim Horton’s Tackle Antibiotics in Chicken
The parent company for both chains has committed to eliminating all antibiotics that are important to human medicine from their chicken supply by the end of 2018.
Restaurant Brands, the parent company of Burger King and Tim Horton’s, made the announcement today, joining other major fast-food chains like McDonald’s and KFC. This is another big win for public health.
More than 70 percent of medically important antibiotics in the United States are sold for use on livestock and poultry, often on animals that aren’t even sick, contributing to the growing epidemic of drug-resistant infections in humans. At least two million Americans fall ill with—and tens of thousands die from—such infections every year.
“The dominos are continuing to fall on antibiotics use in chicken—and the fast-food industry is leading the way,” Lena Brook, a food policy advocate at NRDC, says. “Burger King and Tim Horton’s are helping to keep our lifesaving drugs working when sick people need them.”
With today’s announcement, 11 out of the 15 chains in the United States and more than 40 percent of the U.S. chicken industry have now committed to using antibiotics for their chicken supplies more responsibly. Burger King and Tim Horton’s new policies will likely push this percentage even higher.
After such success with chicken, Brook is eager to see change with other meat. “The next frontier in the fight against the drug-resistance epidemic is to clean up the supply of hamburgers, sausage patties, and other beef and pork served at American’s favorite fast food chains,” she says.