In April, Yum! Brands introduced a new policy for Kentucky Fried Chicken – the company will require its U.S. poultry suppliers to stop using medically important antibiotics in their U.S. chicken supply by 2018. The policy applies to the bird's full life cycle, which includes the hatchery where eggs are sometimes injected with antibiotics.
Yum! is the parent company of several well-known restaurant chains, including KFC, as well as Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, which already have similar rules in place.
About 70 percent of antibiotics vital for fighting infections in humans are used in the meat and dairy industries. Many professionals in the medical community are concerned that overuse of those drugs in the food supply may diminish their effectiveness in fighting disease in humans, leading to a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs.
Engagement from investors played an important role in Yum!’s decision. The Praxis Growth Index Fund is a shareholder of Yum! Brands, and for many years, Praxis Mutual Funds® has advocated for policies that seek to eliminate the use of antibiotics necessary for human medicine at Yum! and other companies. Most recently shareholder advocacy has been through an initiative led by Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return.