Prominent food blogger and activist, Vani Hari, has been in contact with Chick-fil-A representatives, and along with her army of supporters has persuaded them to switch to antibiotic-free meat. The move toward healthier meat is one individuals are making all over the world, and not just in the U.S.
The reasoning isn’t particularly altruistic: Chick-fil-A is attempting to cater to this growing trend of healthier eating. The good news is that regardless of motivation, such changes are long overdue. This may also be an incomplete victory, because aside from the concern over their chickens being raised with antibiotics, Hari also claims that she expressed concerns over their usage of artificial food dyes, TBHQ, genetically modified organisms, and more.
Chick-fil-A has indicated that they will be working alongside suppliers in order to make the healthy transition, although they mention that it is going to take at least 5 years before any solid changes are seen. They still have a long way to go before any of their items are considered by any means a “healthy” lunch option however. It is progress toward positive change in the food industry, and Americans are making it clear that they want antibiotic-free chicken,in the same way they want plastics out of their bread
A&W restaurant has also initiated a campaign marketing their antibiotic and hormone-free meat, and there is no doubt that other chains will begin to follow suit to keep up with consumer trends. Food industry multinational corporations like Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms have both come out with various brands of antibiotic-free chicken. Consumers are increasingly demanding that the daily usage of antibiotics in factory farming methods come to a halt: antibiotic-free chicken currently accounts for roughly 9 percent of the $9 billion that was spent on chicken in 2013 and sales continue to rise quickly.
There is a growing number of consumers who are paying attention to what they eat, pressuring companies to make changes when they find out they are putting harmful and unnecessary ingredients into their menu items. As recently seen with Subway, Mc Donalds, and other restaurants who the public discovered had been inserting azodicarbonamide in their bread recipes, criticism and pressure quickly mounted to have the ingredient removed and Subway responded, stating that it will phase out the use of the chemical. Activists have also been pressuring Trader Joe’s recently to drop meat derived from animals raised on antibiotics from their stores. Antibiotics are frequently abused within the farming industry, for decades officials have warned about the overuse of antibiotics in animals and the associated danger posed regarding the risk of development of infections resistant to treatment in humans.
As it becomes undeniably clear that most people would rather not be potentially poisoned in the name of perfect looking food, and that profits can actually be increased by moving away from these industrial methods, the reasons for continuing current practices disappear. Although the lack of regulation in regard to the use of “natural” labelling contributes to further resistance to the change, it is clear that these changes are necessary.