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"Eat mor chikin" now without antibiotics

Eat mor chikin now without antibiotics!

Chick-fil-A Inc. announced plans Tuesday to use chicken raised without antibiotics in all of its restaurants within five years. Chick-fil-A is partnering up with National and regional poultry suppliers and wants them to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure the chickens do not receive any antibiotics.

"Since our family business began 67 years ago, we have focused on our customers. It's why we insist upon using the highest quality ingredients," Dan Cathy, president and chief executive officer of Chick-fil-A, said in a statement. "We want to continue that heritage, and offering antibiotic-free chicken is the next step."

Antibiotics are used in livestock to prevent disease as well as to assist with growth of the animals. In 2011, about 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold for meat and poultry production. By comparison, 7.7 million pounds were sold for human use, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Chick-fil-A's announcement comes amid a growing awareness about the problem of antibiotic resistance. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that antibiotics in livestock are contributing to the rise of dangerous bacteria. Many antibiotics that farmers give food-producing animals are also used to treat sick humans.

The FDA announced a plan in December to phase out certain antibiotics in the food production industry.

"Because all uses of antimicrobial drugs, in both humans and animals, contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance, it is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary," the FDA said on its website.