All chicken served in Taco Bell restaurants will come from birds that have never been treated with antibiotics also used in human medicine, the quick-service restaurant chain announced on April 18.

The company, in a statement on its website, stated that it will phase out the use of chickens treated with such antibiotics by the end of the first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year. That quarter is expected to end around mid-March.

Taco Bell, which operates about 6,000 restaurants in the United States, stated that it had been working with its partners and suppliers to identify an approach to antibiotic use for food production that “maintains the benefits while also helping to reduce antibiotic use overall.”

Other Yum! Brands restaurants not included in new policy

Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands,which also operates KFC and Pizza Hut. However, a company spokesperson said that the antibiotic policy only applies to the Taco Bell chain.


All Yum! Brands restaurant chains in September 2015 were criticized for their policies on antibiotic use when the report “Chain Reaction: How Top Restaurants Rate on Reducing use of Antibiotic in Their Meat Supply” was released. The report, prepared by a coalition of groups including Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Keep antibiotics Working and Center for Food Safety, rated the top 25 restaurant chains in the U.S. for their policies concerning animal antibiotic use.

All three Yum! Brands subsidiaries received failing grades. The only chains to get “passing” grades were Chipotle, Panera Bread, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.

The antibiotics policy of McDonald’s is similar to the one just released by Taco Bell.