Wendy’s has begun testing antibiotic-free chicken this week in a handful of Southern markets to evaluate the chain's broader guidelines on antibiotic-free meat.
Currently, the fast food chain bans some antibiotics but not all. "Wendy's policy strictly prohibits the use of antibiotics that are medically important to humans for the sole purpose of growth promotion. We believe that antibiotics used in livestock and poultry should only be used for the prevention, control and treatment of disease," the chain said in a statement.
Locations in Orlando and Gainesville, Fla., Kansas City, Mo. and Austin, Tex. will now sell antibiotic-free chicken.
This comes as government agencies and consumer groups have warned that widespread use of antibiotics in both human and animal medicine can lead to drug-resistant bacteria strains. Several large companies like McDonald’s and Tyson have pledged to eliminate the use poultry and livestock treated with antibiotics by 2017. Also, Chick-fil-A in 2014 said it would eliminate all antibiotics from its chicken supply over five years.
But while Wendy’s said that no sweeping changes are in the works yet, finding a supplier to meet the chain's demands wouldn't be a problem.
“We wouldn’t test it if we didn’t think it was something we could realistically pursue,” Wendy’s chief concept officer, Kurt Kane, told The Wall Street Journal.