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Chick-Fil-A revises ‘no antibiotics’ policy amid supply chain issues

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  • Staff Report 

The next time you’re eating some chicken along the New York State Thruway from a popular national fast food chain it may taste a little different. Chick-Fil-A, which operates a number of restaurants along the Thruway in the Finger Lakes, has revised its “no antibiotics ever” policy, a commitment it made a decade ago to combat human antibiotic resistance.

The fast-food giant announced it will now adhere to a standard called “no antibiotics important to human medicine” (NAIHM), focusing on the use of antibiotics exclusively for treating actual illnesses in animals, rather than for growth promotion or disease prevention in healthy animals. This change is set to take effect in spring 2024, indicating a shift from the previous blanket ban on all forms of antibiotics in its chicken supply.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The policy adjustment comes amid concerns over securing enough antibiotic-free chicken to meet demand. Tyson Foods, one of the largest poultry suppliers, has similarly adjusted its approach by reintroducing certain antibiotics not used in human medicine to its chicken production, marking a significant shift in the industry’s handling of antibiotic use.

This move reflects a broader industry trend towards more targeted use of antibiotics in livestock, amid ongoing debates about the impact of such practices on public health and animal welfare. Both Chick-Fil-A and Tyson Foods cite supply challenges and animal health considerations as key factors driving their revised policies, spotlighting the complex balance between sustainable production practices and the realities of the modern food supply chain.