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FILE - This April 18, 2011, file photo, shows Yum Brand's KFC restaurant in Mountain View, Calif. Yum Brands, the owner of KFC and Taco Bell, says it has completed the spinoff of its China business into a separate publicly traded company, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. The new company, Yum China Holdings Inc., will run the KFC and Pizza Hut chains in mainland China. It also plans to open the first Taco Bell in the country before the end of this year.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

KFC said it will stop using chickens raised with human antibiotics by 2018

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KFC said Friday that it will no longer serve chickens raised with certain antibiotics.

The fried chicken chain said the change will be completed by the end of next year at its more than 4,000 restaurants in the U.S.

KFC is working with more than 2,000 farms around the country to stop using antibiotics important to human medicine. Antibiotics specific to animals may still be used to treat diseases in the chickens, KFC said

Meat producers give animals antibiotics to make them grow faster and prevent illness, a practice that has become a public health issue.

Officials have said that it can lead to germs becoming resistant to drugs, making antibiotics no longer effective in treating some illnesses in humans.

KFC's rivals have already announced plans to curb their use of chickens raised with antibiotics. 

Chick-fil-A has said that by 2019 it will only serve chicken that has never been given any antibiotics. And McDonald's Corp. has stopped using chickens raised with antibiotics important to human medicine for its McNuggets.

KFC, owned by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc., said it is also in the process of removing artificial colors and flavors from certain menu items by the end of 2018.

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