Chick-fil-A rolls back commitment to antibiotic-free chicken

By Thomson Reuters Mar 22, 2024 | 2:28 PM

By Waylon Cunningham

(Reuters) – Chick-fil-A announced it is allowing certain antibiotics in its chicken, overturning a commitment it made in 2014.

The company said in a recent statement posted on its website that the change will take effect in spring 2024, and is intended “to maintain supply of the high-quality chicken you expect from us.”

The statement, which was also sent as a notification to the chain’s app users, said the antibiotics that will be allowed are not important to human health, and are only administered “if the animal and those around it were to become sick.”

The company in a statement to Reuters said the policy change was due to challenges it foresees finding chicken supplies that “meets our rigid standards.”

The move follows similar rollbacks from other companies.

Tyson Foods, a major supplier of chicken, announced last summer it was reintroducing certain antibiotics to its chicken supply chain, after having gone antibiotic-free in 2017.

Panera Bread, which like Chick-fil-A was an early adopter of antibiotic-free commitments, also recently changed its animal welfare policies to allow the use of antibiotics in pork and turkey products, among other shifts, Reuters revealed earlier this month. Internal documents from Panera said its previous no-antibiotics policy limited its supply chain options to 5% of pork available on the market.

(Reporting by Waylon Cunningham; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)