Burger King has vowed to purchase only chicken raised without antibiotics by the end of 2018.
Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which owns the Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons brands, has joined other restaurants operators such as KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Wendy's in committing to stop the use of antibiotics in its poultry products.
Antibiotic use in livestock has been proven to contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance in all bacteria, reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics for treating human disease.
In an analysis, presented by the economist Jim O'Neill, it was estimated that the drug resistant infections will kill 10 million people per year worldwide by 2050.
According to As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy group, 70% of antibiotics important to human health are sold for use in meat and dairy production.
"Shareholders applaud RBI's announcement," said Austin Wilson, environmental health program manager at As You Sow. "This is great news for modern medicine and for long-term shareholder value."
In RBIs Sustainability Report, the company said: "We recognise that antibiotics play an important and delicate role in animal well being and human health. Antibiotics are sometimes required to control and treat disease to maintain animal health and welfare. We require our Vendors to purchase products only from farmers that administer antibiotics in a judicious and responsible manner when treatment is necessary, in keeping with veterinary and regulatory requirements.
"We believe that it is important to reduce the use of antibiotics important for human medicine in order to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in both veterinary and human medicine. In support of this belief, we are committed to using chicken that is raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine as defined by the World Health Organisation in Critically Important Antimicrobials for Human Medicine 5th Revision 2016 and we intend to meet this commitment in U.S. and Canada by the end of 2018."
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