One of America’s most popular fast-food restaurant chains, Chick-Fil-A sent out a press release on Tuesday stating that they plan to serve up antibiotic-free chicken nationwide at all of their restaurants. The company plans to remove all antibiotic use within five years. Founder, Truett Cathy, who invented the famous Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich says he insists on using only “the best-tasting, highest-quality ingredients.” This is one healthy promise that people will not soon forget.
Chick-Fil-A prides itself upon listening to what their customers have to say. On their Facebook page, they claim to have come to this decision because their clientele have been asking for it. Cathy calls this five year plan, a special journey for the company. They plan on collaborating with their poultry suppliers while they in turn work with the USDA to confirm that no antibiotic use will come into play at any point, whether at the chicken hatchery or the chicken processing plant.
Chick-Fil-A has made other significant changes to the quality of their food in the past, by removing yellow dye from their chicken soup and all trans fats on their menu items and condiments in 2008. They were the first in the industry to add fresh fruit in 2004 and reduced the amount of sodium across the board. The company promises that the chicken they use contains no fillers, hormones, additives or steroids making it a healthy quick-service restaurant choice. The FDA warns of the overuse of antibiotics in not just in chickens, but in all livestock because it could lead to “antibiotic-resistant germs.”
The current consumer trends seem to lean towards eating healthier organic food. Produce companies and restaurants have long been noticing that changes need to be made, or consumers will go elsewhere. People want to know exactly what they are eating. Cathy says “it’s important to us too. The population is becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics, because some of what farmers administer to the animals is also what humans use when they fall ill. This has driven doctors to limit their use to human beings.
Tim Tassopoulos, executive vice president of operations of Chickfil-A says moving in the direction will take some time but they plan to post updates after 2015 to their website on a quarterly basis so that customers can check in on their progress.
Chick-Fil-A is family owned business that began 67 years ago. They have up to 1800 chain locations in the United States and have claimed to have made over 5 billion in sales in 2013 alone. The company seems committed to remaining transparent to the inner workings of their operations, which will only work in their favor. One can expect prices to increase says Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A’s executive vice president, however not by much.
What the Chick-Fil-A restaurants will do is a good step in the right direction. One can only hope that all fast food chains will follow suit in the near future. With promises like those from the Cathy family business, it allows healthy minded consumers to worry about other things besides what is in the chicken burger they are about to devour.
By Katie Sevigny