Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King, Tim Horton's and Popeye's, announced June 22 it would aim to cut out the use of antibiotics in chickens, Reuters reports. The company said the chicken at its U.S. and Canadian Burger King and Tim Horton's restaurants will be raised without the use of antibiotics by the end of 2018.
Popeye's Louisiana Chicken, which the company purchased earlier this year, will meet the same standards "over time," but without a fixed date as of now. Specifically the chicken used by the brands will be raised in the U.S. and Canada without antibiotics that are important to human medicine.
Burger King, Tim Horton's and Popeye's will join the ever-growing list of restaurants -- including McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC and Chick-fil-A -- that have vowed to curb the use of antibiotic-raised chicken in an effort to stem the rise of dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, known as "superbugs."
Medical researchers believe that overusing antibiotics used in human medicine on farms can diminish their effectiveness in fighting diseases when humans need them the most.
According to Reuters, human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill at least 23,000 Americans every year; meanwhile, 70 percent of antibiotics necessary for fighting infections in humans are sold for use in meat and dairy production.