Chick-fil-A to switch to antibiotic-free chicken

Chick-fil-A to switch to antibiotic-free chicken

Posted: Updated:

Chick-fil-A said Tuesday it plans to serve only chicken raised without antibiotics within the next five years.

The Atlanta-based chain said it's working with suppliers to build up an adequate supply for its nearly 1,800 restaurants. It is asking suppliers to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to verify that no antibiotics are administered on the chickens at any point.

The use of antibiotics to fatten up farm animals and prevent disease has become a growing concern in recent years. The Food and Drug Administration has warned to decrease antibiotics in meat because the practice could lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant germs.

Many consumers simply don't like the idea of eating meat that has been fed antibiotics, and serving meat raised without antibiotics can be a selling point for companies.

Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of operations, said in a phone interview that the company planned to keep customers updated on its progress and eventually advertise its conversion in its restaurants.

"We're going to make sure customers know," he said.

Chick-fil-A isn't the first chain to tout meat raised without antibiotics. Chipotle, which has surged in popularity in recent years, has also made its commitment to "responsibility raised" meat an integral part of its identity. Supply issues have forced the Mexican food chain to use conventionally raised meat at times, most notably for beef. For chicken, Chipotle says less than 1 percent of its meat was conventionally raised last year.

Meanwhile, Tassopoulos says that the switch to chickens raised without antibiotics would likely result in higher prices for customers, but said the company is working with suppliers to ensure the impact is "minimal."

Chick-fil-A said its conversion will require "changes along every point of the supply chain - from the hatchery to the processing plant." The company's suppliers include Tyson, Purdue and Pilgrim's Pride.

Rob Dugas, vice president of Chick-fil-A's supply chain, said that suppliers weren't surprised by the request given recent consumer trends. But he said it would still take them some time to make the necessary changes.

Paul Shapiro, a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States, said that Chick-fil-A's decision was a positive step on the public health front. In terms of animal welfare, however, he noted that the use of antibiotics is a "minor" factor affecting the conditions in which the chickens are raised.

Shapiro said one of the biggest problems from an animal welfare perspective is that birds are genetically selected to grow as fat as possible as quickly as possible.

Chick-fil-A, based in Atlanta, operates locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

In a statement, the National Chicken Council said the chicken industry works to ensure that no matter which production system consumers choose, "they can have confidence in the safety and nutrition of all of their chicken purchases."

Spokesman Tom Super also said breeding practices have helped "raise a better chicken" while improving its welfare.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Norman emergency crews respond to near drowning - one person transported to hospital

    Norman emergency crews respond to near drowning - one person transported to hospital

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:27 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:27:24 GMT
    There is a possible drowning at Lake Thunderbird. Norman emergency personnel are on the scene in the Turkey Creek Pass area of the lake.
    There is a possible drowning at Lake Thunderbird. Norman emergency personnel are on the scene in the Turkey Creek Pass area of the lake.
  • Norman eyes new fund for flooding, drainage issues

    Norman eyes new fund for flooding, drainage issues

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:51 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:51:11 GMT
    In Norman, flooding isn't terribly unusual during rain.For a city who has a street named Flood Street, and another nicknamed "Lake McGee" for the drive that often floods, having a fund to take care of issues like drainage would be beneficial, city leaders say.
    In Norman, flooding isn't terribly unusual during rain.For a city who has a street named Flood Street, and another nicknamed "Lake McGee" for the drive that often floods, having a fund to take care of issues like drainage would be beneficial, city leaders say.
  • FOP President demonstrates how hot a car can get

    FOP President demonstrates how hot a car can get

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:15:28 GMT
    EMSA calls it an unknown epidemic. Since May, paramedics in the metro have had more than 60 calls about kids being left in hot cars. The results can be deadly.To demonstrate just how much heat can affect the body John George, the president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, locked himself inside his SUV for 30 minutes Sunday.
    EMSA calls it an unknown epidemic. Since May, paramedics in the metro have had more than 60 calls about kids being left in hot cars. The results can be deadly.To demonstrate just how much heat can affect the body John George, the president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, locked himself inside his SUV for 30 minutes Sunday.
  • More HeadlinesMore>>

  • Radar captures mayfly swarm on Mississippi River

    Radar captures mayfly swarm on Mississippi River

    Sunday, July 27 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-07-27 22:16:59 GMT
    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Mayflies have begun emerging from the Mississippi River in swarms that show up on radar like thunderstorms, coat roads and other surfaces, and leave behind a slimy mess.
    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Mayflies have begun emerging from the Mississippi River in swarms that show up on radar like thunderstorms, coat roads and other surfaces, and leave behind a slimy mess.
  • 3 days on, no arrests in hunt for carjack killers

    3 days on, no arrests in hunt for carjack killers

    Sunday, July 27 2014 4:05 PM EDT2014-07-27 20:05:12 GMT
    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The hunt for two Philadelphia carjackers who rammed their stolen SUV into a family, killing three children, has entered its third day, with investigators saying they're hopeful the suspects will soon be caught.
    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The hunt for two Philadelphia carjackers who rammed their stolen SUV into a family, killing three children, has entered its third day, with investigators saying they're hopeful the suspects will soon be caught.
  • Fast food workers vow civil disobedience

    Fast food workers vow civil disobedience

    Sunday, July 27 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-07-27 16:34:24 GMT
    VILLA PARK, Ill. (AP) -- Fast food workers from across the country have voted in suburban Chicago to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation by including civil disobedience.
    VILLA PARK, Ill. (AP) -- Fast food workers from across the country have voted in suburban Chicago to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation by including civil disobedience.
ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.