Burger King plans to switch to chicken raised without antibiotics considered "critically important" to human medicine, their owner said on Wednesday, making it the latest company to ditch the drugs over health concerns.
Restaurant Brands International Inc said it aims to make the change in US stores in 2017 and in Canada in 2018.
An estimated 70 per cent of antibiotics that are important to fighting human infections and ensuring the safety of invasive procedures such as surgeries are sold for use in meat and dairy production.
Concern has been growing among scientists, public health experts, consumers and shareholders that the overuse of such drugs is contributing to rising numbers of life-threatening human infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria dubbed "superbugs."
"We believe that it is important to reduce the use of antibiotics important for human medicine in order to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in both veterinary and human medicine," Restaurant Brands said.
The company did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 2 million people in the United States are infected with drug-resistant bacteria each year and that 23,000 die as a direct result.