Burger King as well as Tim Hortons have announced that they will stop accepting antibiotic treated chicken as a base for their products starting with 2017.
Antibiotic treated chicken would hardly seem to be a problem. But concern over the matter has been growing recently. Public health experts, scientists, shareholders, and consumers have been increasingly worried by the potential appearance of “superbugs”.
Superbugs, perhaps contrary to their name, are bacteria. These have been noted to be antibiotics-resistant and have led to life-threatening human infections.
One of the causes of their appearance is linked to the said antibiotics treated chicken. As such, Burger King and Tim Hortons have announced that they will stop using such poultry.
Both food chains are owned by Restaurant Brands International. This is a Canadian fast food company. The multinational was founded back in 2014. It was based on the merger of Burger King, the American fast food chain, and Tim Hortons, a Canadian restaurant and coffee shop chain.
Both companies have retained their original headquarters and operations. Still, the merger is focused on ensuring a financial efficiency for them both.
Restaurant Brands International released a few details about its poultry decision. A statement on the matter was released earlier this week. It noted that the chicken change will be carried out throughout 2017 in the United States. Canada will see the same change in 2018.
The change from antibiotics treated chicken is considered to be “critically important”. Human medicine will reportedly depend on such a wide scale change.
Reports show that meat and dairy productions are sold human antibiotics. More exactly, these latter are important in fighting off human infections. They are also used as a safety measure for invasive procedures, for example, surgeries.
Still, an estimated 70 percent of such antibiotics are sold to dairy and meat producers. Such drugs have potentially started being overused. As such, they may also be contributing to the increased number of superbugs cases.
Restaurant Brands stated as follows. According to them, it is important to reduce the number of human targeted, but animal used antibiotics. These drugs are important to medicine.
As such, they should be kept as effective as possible. This move would help both the human medicine and the veterinary one.
The company issued no further comments on the matter, as of yet. They will nonetheless be the latest to refuse the use of antibiotics treated chicken.
CDC or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an estimate. According to it, more than 2 million U.S. residents get infected with superbugs each year. As it is, 23,000 of them die in a direct connection with the drug-resistant bacteria.
Restaurant Brands has been working with the As You Sow. This latter is a health advocacy group. They have been helping the food chains deal with the antibiotics treated chicken problem.
Official declarations state that they have been working on an antibiotics policy for more than a year. Restaurant Brands set 2016 as the deadline for addressing the issue.
The As You Sow environmental health program manager, Austin Wilson, also went to offer comments. He stated that the new company plan is a sign of progress.
However, he did point out that it is somewhat disappointing when compared to others. Over these past few years, other companies have set quite a standard. Wilson stated that Restaurant Brands will only be removing the use of “critically important” antibiotics.
Wendy’s, Tyson’s, and McDonald’s are amongst such companies. McDonald’s has reported having already removed all antibiotics treated chicken products from its U.S. supply chain.
Wendy’s declared earlier this year, in August, that it will do the same by 2017. Both decisions target chicken treated with antibiotics that are important to the human health.
Tyson Foods also intends to stop using such drugs in raising its chicken in 2017. Tyson’s is the reported biggest chicken processor in the United States.
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