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Pizza Hut expands antibiotic-free chicken initiative to bone-in wings

Transition to be complete at all locations by 2022

Pizza Hut will fully phase out chicken raised with antibiotics from its supply chain by 2022, the company said Tuesday.

Pizza Hut, a division of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands, said it is the “first national pizza company to commit to an antibiotic policy for chicken wings.”  The move comes about a year after the pizza chain completed the removal of antibiotics important to human medicine from chickens sourced for its pizza.

The chain, which has about 7,500 U.S. locations, offers bone-in-chicken wings at all locations through its sister brand WingStreet.

"Today's announcement to no longer serve chicken raised with antibiotics by 2022 demonstrates our commitment to serve food that not only tastes great, but that customers can feel good about eating," Marianne Radley, chief brand officer, said in a statement. 

Plano, Texas-based Pizza Hut is not the first major quick-service brand to make such a commitment.

In March, McDonald’s formed a council dedicated to helping the chain meet its chicken welfare and sustainability goals.  Since 2016, U.S. McDonald’s restaurants have phased out sourcing chickens treated with antibiotics important to human medicine. With guidance from the council, McDonald’s said it plans to start a global effort to eliminate chicken treated with antibiotics that are defined as high priority by the World Health Organization. The global goal for eliminating this supply is 2027.

KFC said last year that it would only purchase chicken raised without medically important antibiotics by the end of 2018. Other national quick-service chains that have previously committed to removing antibiotics from the chicken they serve include Chick-fil-A, KFC, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

But even as a shift to antibiotic-free meats becomes more common, advocacy groups say many in the industry have a long way to go.

According to a scorecard report released last fall by a group of environmental advocacy organizations, only two chains — Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill — received “A” ratings for their policies restricting antibiotic use in nearly all meats. Brands scoring poorly included Sonic, Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden, Applebee’s, Domino’s Pizza, Chili’s, Little Caesars, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dairy Queen, Arby’s and IHOP.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @FastFoodMaven

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