Environmental and consumer groups could pressure the fast food giant, now that McDonald's has vowed to switch to chicken raised without antibiotics. Fred Katayama reports.
KFC could get grilled. Now that McDonald's and Chick-fil-A have vowed to switch to chicken raised without human antibiotics, environmental and consumer groups may pressure the world's largest fried chicken restaurant chain. Referring to McDonald's move, food services consultant Bob Goldin at Technomic said, "The train has left the station." KFC's parent, Yum, is staying mum. It has no publicly stated policy on antibiotic use for the meat it buys. The environmental group, Friends of the Earth, says Yum has ignored its request for information on its antibiotic policy. And the company has declined to discuss its standards to Reuters. Consumers Union, the Center for Food Safety, and the Natural Resources Defense Council are working with Friends of the Earth to curtail antibiotics from chickens. Suppliers to KFC, such as Tyson Foods, declined comment or could not be reached. KFC has already gotten a taste of what could happen. In the U.S., younger diners seeking high quality, antibiotic-free meats are flocking to chains like Chipotle and Panera Bread. And three years ago, its sales in China got slammed after media reports about excessive antibiotic use by some of its suppliers.