Chick-fil-A announced that they would only serve chicken at their restaurants that was free of and had not been fed any form of antibiotic. Although the decision will not be implemented for another five years, Chick-fil-A verified that they plan on completely removing antibiotic-fed chicken from their shelves.
The practice of raising chicken with antibiotics has been around for quite some time. It has gained popularity over the years and is used for many other animals as well. The entire purpose is to prevent bacterial growth in the animal. The antibiotics also help in fattening the animal and accelerating their growth. This practice, however, has received criticism from many as they believe that the antibiotics could transfer to humans who consume the meat. It is also believed that continuously injecting animals with antibiotics could lead to them developing antibiotic-resistant germs which would again affect the consumers of the meat. Apart from that, many consumers often are not comfortable eating meat they know has trace amounts of antibiotics in it.
Chick-fil-A was founded in 1946 and has become a cultural icon in many parts of the U.S. ever since. Currently operating more than 1,700 chains in approximately 38 states, Chick-fil-A has become one of the largest fast food chains in the country. Chief Executive Officer Dan Cathy commented that being in business for 67 years means that they always cater to the needs of the customers. For this very reason, managers at Chick-fil-A made the decision to serve chicken that is free from any form of antibiotics. The reason behind their not immediately acting on the decision is that Chick-fil-A needs time to stock their supplies with meat that does not contain antibiotics. According to them, the process of converting from one product to another effects every area of the production line. They are in talks with certain poultry suppliers but need time so that they can implement the change in all of their restaurants throughout the country.
Chick-fil-A has also been known for removing other ingredients from their products and is considering removing others. This includes removing the yellow dye from their soup and taking out other additives from their buns and sauces. There have been many other fast food restaurants beside Chick-fil-A that have made amendments to their menu as well. Subway plans to remove the chemical azodicarbonamide, which is also found in the soles of shoes, from their bread. Kraft announced that it would remove artificial dyes from their macaroni and cheese products.
Discontinuing the use of chickens that have been given antibiotics in favor of a cleaner stock means that the price of the products will also go up. Customers will then have to pay more than they usually do. Chick-fil-A understands that such an outcome is to be expected but assures everyone that they will attempt to keep the price increase at a minimum.
How the transition will affect sales of the fast food chain remains to be seen. Believing that they are only doing what is in the best interest of their customers, Chick-fil-A is sticking to the decision of only serving chicken that is free from any sort of antibiotic at their outlets.
By Hammad Ali