Shares of Yum! Brands (YUM) are in focus in early trading after the company said it will curb the use of antibiotics in chickens bought for its KFC restaurants. Yum!’s move follows efforts by competitors McDonald’s (MCD) and Chick-fil-A in eliminating the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply.

WHAT’S NEW: Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, this morning confirmed that it will eliminate antibiotics important to human medicine from its chicken. KFC is giving its U.S. poultry suppliers until the end of 2018 to stop using the antibiotics, the company said. “We recognize that it’s a growing public health concern,” KFC U.S. President Kevin Hochman told Reuters, adding that the policy will apply only to KFC in the U.S. and its 4,200 restaurants supplied by some 2,000 domestic chicken farms. Yum! said that in addition to its antibiotics pledge, KFC has made additional commitments recently, including plans to eliminate all artificial colors and flavors from its core products by the end of 2018. While all KFC chicken, and most of its menu, is free of food dyes, Yum! said that 100% of KFC’s menu will be free of food dyes by the end of 2017, except for beverages and third-party products. Yum! said today’s announcement is the latest step in the brand’s U.S. turnaround.

WHAT’S NOTABLE: McDonald’s U.S. restaurants last year stopped serving chicken raised with antibiotics considered important to human medicine. Peer Chick-fil-A vowed in 2014 to switch to poultry raised without any antibiotics at all by the end of 2019. Additionally, Tyson (TSN), a U.S. poultry producer and a KFC supplier, has vowed to eliminate the use of human antibiotics in its chickens by September 2017. Last November, shareholders in meat and restaurant brands and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility announced a campaign to move companies offering chicken, beef and pork products to dramatically reduce the antibiotics used in animal farming to safeguard antibiotic effectiveness in humans, noting that the meat industry “has been very slow to respond.”

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