KFC will stop using antibiotics in its chicken

It's also nixing food dyes and artificial flavors.
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KFC announced plans Friday to stop using human antibiotics in its chicken.

According to a news release, Kentucky Fried Chicken says by the end of 2018, all its chicken will be raised without antibiotics used in human medicine.

"This move marks the first time a major national quick service restaurant chain in the U.S. has extended an antibiotics commitment beyond boneless chicken to its chicken-on-the-bone menu items," the release reads.

Restaurant officials say making this change "was complex and took a lot of planning," and KFC will be working with more than 2,000 farms – many of them family owned – to make this happen.

"We know our customers expect the very best fried chicken at a great value," company president Kevin Hochman said in a statement. "I am especially proud that we are able to make this change without passing the cost along to our guests."

And that's not the only change the fast food restaurant chain is making.

By the end of 2018, all its "core products" will also be free of artificial colors and flavors.

Already, all KFC chicken is free of food dyes. And by the end of this year, all food on its menu will be without dyes – with the exceptions of beverages and third-party products.

According to the news release, this is all part of the company's "Re-Colonelization" – an effort to go back to KFC's roots. Basically, the company wants to focus on its chicken, simplify operations, bring back the Colonel, re-train staff and update its restaurants.

What's the big deal, anyways?

According to U.S. News and Nation's Restaurant News, farmers have been using antibiotics in animals for a long time to keep them free of infections and to help the animals grow.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says too much exposure to antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

That can be detrimental to a farmer's livestock if it spreads. And if people get sick, that can result it costly medical bills or even death since those infections can be difficult to treat.

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