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Chick-fil-A Has Some Major News, and Fans Aren’t Going to Be Happy

The fast-food chicken chain is going to stop serving antibiotic-free chicken.

<p>Getty</p>

Getty

A newly announced change to Chick-fil-A’s menu may ruffle some feathers.

The fast-food chicken chain announced this week via a notification on their app that it'll be ending its promise to only serve 100% antibiotic-free chicken. “Chick-fil-A will shift from No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) to No Antibiotics Important To Human Medicine (NAIHM) starting in the Spring of 2024,” the national brand shared online as its updated “chicken commitment.” 

The change is a major departure from Chick-fil-A's 2014 promise to go completely antibiotic-free. In February 2014, Chick-fil-A announced its intention to exclusively serve chicken raised without antibiotics in all Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide by 2019. 

Just a few years later, that commitment is ending. Chick-fil-A didn’t share a date for the restaurant’s official shift to using NAIHM chicken, but spring 2024 is already upon us, so it's safe to assume antibiotic-inclusive chicken is already in Chick-fil-A kitchens.

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So what is NAIHM chicken? NAIHM poultry is chicken that comes from an animal that has been treated with animal-specific antibiotics if the bird and birds around it are sick. There’s no way to taste, smell or really know if the chicken you’re about to eat has or hasn’t been treated with antibiotics. But the practice is controversial and is considered concerning for human health

Using antibiotics in raising poultry has been linked with creating antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which means humans who have consumed poultry that has been treated with antibiotics may not respond to prescribed antibiotics typically used to fight infections in humans. Not ideal. 

Chick-fil-A isn’t the only poultry giant rolling back its commitment to being antibiotic-free. In July 2023, Tyson Foods announced that it will remove its “no antibiotics ever” promise on some of its fresh and frozen chicken products. And earlier this March, Panera began a less strict animal welfare standards policy, removing “no antibiotics ever” signage from stores and allowing the use of some antibiotics in the pork and turkey products offered on the menu. 

Those looking for antibiotic-free meat from a fast food chain may only have Chipotle, which has stood by its promise to exclusively serve meat raised without antibiotics since 1999.

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Chick-fil-A fans are, expectedly, disheartened by the news that antibiotics have now hit the menu.

“Chick-fil-A announced that they will be shifting from antibiotic-free chicken starting this spring to antibiotic chicken that's ‘ok’ for humans. I do not need medicine in my food. This also messes with children's hormones. NO THANKS.” shared X user KamVTV

“Chick-fil-A going from no antibiotics ever to ‘never antibiotics important to human medicine’ gotta be the biggest L of 2024 so far. They want us poisoned. They want us weak. Don’t eat this slop,” shared X user CTurbanzz

Maybe a shift to cultivated lab-grown chicken will keep customers happy?

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