Wendy’s will cease the use of chicken raised with antibiotics also used in human medicine in 2017, the company revealed on its website.
The company also revealed that it is moving toward the reduction of antibiotics important to humans in its pork and beef supplies, and that it will reveal more specific goals concerning beef and pork next year.
While some restaurant chains have committed to no longer serving any meat from animals treated with any antibiotics as worries about antimicrobial resistance continue, Wendy’s has maintained a more moderate position on the use of antibiotics in animal production.
“Wendy’s has a long-standing commitment to animal welfare. We believe that responsible animal care guided by a veterinarian is essential to producing high quality, safe food, while also enhancing consumers’ trust and confidence in the food we all share,” the company stated on its website. “We also believe that sick animals deserve to be treated and that antibiotics should only be used to treat illness.”
“We work closely with farmers, ranchers and our suppliers, and we are constantly working to find ways to improve animal care practices, including responsible antibiotic use – always with the goal of protecting human and animal health.”
The news of Wendy’s move from antibiotics used in human medicine came days after the company’s chief rival restaurant chain – McDonald’s – announced that it had completed its transition away from chicken treated with antibiotics also used in human medicine.
Wendy’s earlier antibiotic-related decisions
During the summer of 2015, Wendy’s tested the sale of grilled chicken products that were from birds raised without antibiotics in four test markets – Orlando and Gainesville, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; and Austin, Texas.
The company at the time stated it wanted to gauge not only the public’s perception for antibiotic-free chicken, but also the availability of chicken served without antibiotics.
In September 2015, Wendy’s was one of many U.S. restaurant chains to receive a “failing” grade for its policies on antibiotic use in the report, Chain Reaction: How Top Restaurants Rate on Reducing Use of Antibiotics in Their Meat Supply, was 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.