The Sources Of KFC's Chicken Are A Little Shady

You've heard the urban legends: McDonald's McNuggets are made with pink sludge, Taco Bell doesn't use real meat, and KFC uses mutant chickens. When KFC shortened its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken to the initials KFC, a story spread that it was because the company was using genetically manipulated organisms developed with no feet, beaks, or feathers. KFC spokesperson Rick Maynard addressed these claims in 2015 in a statement to Business Insider. "There is absolutely no truth to this ridiculous urban legend, which has been debunked many times. KFC uses only top quality poultry from trusted companies like Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride — the same brands customers know from their local supermarkets."

These speculations might be a bit off the wall, but in a more realistic scenario KFC has been accused of using antibiotic-laden chicken. Chicken for the restaurant chain is supplied by Pilgrim's Pride, Tyson, Case Farms, and Koch Foods. Of these, only Tyson is transparent, having implemented an antibiotic policy to assure its product's safety. According to NRDC, chicken manufacturers in the U.S. "are not required to disclose what drugs they use." The presence of antibiotics in everyday food can result in problems for the typical consumer.

Unnecessary antibiotics can lead to resistance to medicine

If it's true that antibiotics are present in KFC chicken, people who consume it can potentially be at risk when actual infections crop up that require doctor-prescribed antibiotics. When a doctor was asked what type of harm this may cause, they pointed to the fact that overuse of antibiotics can create resistant bacteria. "People who ingest these bacteria can develop infections that are resistant — that is, they won't respond — to the antibiotics doctors commonly use to treat them," according to Harvard Health Publishing. This can pose a major concern for people with compromised immune systems and serious ailments, such as cancer or AIDS.

According to the National Chicken Council, an FDA-approved amount of antibiotics is necessary for raising healthy livestock, but these antibiotics can be of a type that are not used in human medicine, which doesn't create the same complications for people. For example, this class of antibiotics can help prevent coccidiosis — a serious disease that can cause suffering and death in chickens that develop it. That doesn't mean antibiotics must be used, however. KFC's competitor, Chick-fil-A vowed in 2014 that it would use zero antibiotics going forward, and it reached that goal by 2019, and continue to honor it to this day.