oberto Machado Noa / Contributor / Getty Images 

The chain is the latest in a string of fast food companies that will no longer use antibiotics on their chicken farms. 

Elisabeth Sherman
June 23, 2017

The parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, Restaurant Brands International Inc, has vowed to stop injecting chickens with antibiotics by the end of 2018.

The company, which recently bought Popeyes Louisiana Chicken, said that the rule would apply to all brands under its umbrella.

The move comes after a string of chicken producers, including Perdue and Tyson, and other fast food restaurants including KFC and McDonalds, which will soon start using fresh beef in their burgers, announced that they will also discontinue the use of the antibiotics in their chicken supply. 

More than 70% of antibiotics used for medical purposes in the United States are sold for use on livestock and poultry.

Medical professionals worry that the drugs used on farms could create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, making antibiotics less effective when used to treat human illness. Their use has already spurned a global health crisis: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria causes at least 23,000 deaths per year, as Reuters reports.

“We have officially passed the tipping point on antibiotics use in chicken served by the U.S. fast food industry. With this commitment, Burger King and Tim Hortons are helping to keep our lifesaving drugs working when sick people need them,” Lena Brook, a food policy advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “The next frontier in the fight against the drug resistance epidemic is to curb antibiotics use in beef and pork—and that means extending these policies beyond nuggets to burgers, sausage patties and more.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council now estimates that at least half of the U.S. chicken industry is revising their policy on using antibiotics on chickens to integrate more responsible practices. 

Sanderson Farms, the nation's third largest supplier of poultry – which claims it produces 100% natural chicken – hasn’t made a similar pledge. According to Bloomberg, a new recent lawsuit brought against the company says that their chicken actually contains Ketamine.

Otherwise, it seems as though fast food is doint its best to go all-natural. So go ahead and eat that chicken sandwich guilt-free (in a year or so). It's one step closer to actually being healthy.