Chick-fil-A just made a big change to its menu

Chick-fil-A might be a controversial restaurant, but it's certainly got its fans, as proven by the fact that they're ranked as the most popular fast food chain for several years running. Those fans will probably be excited to hear that Chick-fil-A is making a big change to their menu — but don't worry, they're not switching to beef or anything like that.

They're also not adding a spicy chicken sandwich to their menu to rival that of Popeye's. The change they're making is more subtle, but could also make an even bigger cultural impact — they've completely removed antibiotics from their chicken supply.

The chain had pledged to do just that by the end of 2019, but they made it happen a few months ahead of schedule. Chick-fil-A announced on September 12 it officially switched to "No Antibiotics Ever" in May of 2019 at all their restaurants nationwide, and that their in-store product packaging with reflect the change this October (via Chick-fil-A).

Is using antibiotics in meat really that bad?

It can be difficult to know which food additives are good for you and which are bad, so it's easy to wonder: Is using antibiotics on chicken really so bad? According to the World Health Organization, it is.

That's because excessive antibiotic use in our food supply can lead to the creation of super bacteria, which are difficult to treat. The WHO says that by 2,050 almost all of the antibiotics we use today could be ineffective in treating bacterial infection in humans, and the cost of trying to treat them could be up to $100 trillion when lost productivity is taken into consideration (via Today).  

Chick-fil-A going "No Antibiotics Ever" will ensure that their poultry supply isn't part of the super bacteria problem, but it also might have industry-wide implications, if it manages to have the same influence that McDonald's move to cage-free eggs did, with demand affecting supply (via Restaurant Dive).

How did Chick-fil-A make the switch to 'No Antibiotics Ever'?

Switching to an antibiotic-free meat supply wasn't easy. That's because there literally weren't enough farms producing antibiotic-free chicken to meet Chick-fil-A's demand. Their existing suppliers had to convert to the new method of farming so that CFA would have enough antibiotic-free chicken for all of its 2,400+ stores.

In order to get the USDA's certification of "No Antibiotics Ever," Chick-fil-A had to make sure that all of its chicken was raised without antibiotics, from the egg until the chicken is processed. If a chicken falls ill and needs antibiotics to be treated, it's simply sent to a conventional chicken farm to live out its days (via Consumer Reports). 

Chick-fil-A worked with the USDA to help ensure that their chicken supply was pure, and got the coveted "No Antibiotics Ever" certification. "Chick-fil-A has always been committed to serving customers delicious food made with high quality ingredients and offering No Antibiotics Ever chicken was the next step," said Matt Abercrombie, Chick-fil-A's director of menu and packaging, about making the switch.

That's a menu change we can all get behind.