Restaurant chains Burger King and Tim Hortons plan to switch to chicken raised without antibiotics considered “critically important” to human medicine, their owner Restaurant Brands International Inc said on Wednesday, making it the latest food company to distance itself from the drugs.
The company aims to make the change in U.S. stores in 2017 and in Canada in 2018, Restaurant Brands International said on its website.
An estimated 70 percent of antibiotics that are important to fighting human infections and ensuring the safety of invasive procedures such as surgeries are sold for use in meat and dairy production.
Concern has been growing among scientists, public health experts, consumers and shareholders that the overuse of such drugs is contributing to rising numbers of life-threatening human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria dubbed “superbugs.”
“We believe that it is important to reduce the use of antibiotics important for human medicine in order to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in both veterinary and human medicine,” Restaurant Brands International said.
McDonald’s Corp has already removed all antibiotics important to human medicine from its U.S. chicken supply chain. Wendy’s Co said in August it would quit using chickens raised with antibiotics important to human health by 2017.