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Chick-fil-A cancels antibiotic-free chicken (Here’s why this is devastating for everyone!)

It was my birthday last week…but I got the worst present ever. That morning Alex Clark of the Spillover Podcast DM’d me: “Someone sent me this!”

Along with a screenshot from Chick-fil-A’s app stating that they are cancelling their “No Antibiotics Ever” standard, and would start selling chicken raised with antibiotics this Spring:

As soon as I saw this, I was devastated and disgusted by their horrible decision. 

People who eat at Chick-fil-A believe they’re eating Antibiotic-Free chicken because they made a huge announcement about this when they made the switch 10 years ago, and it has been a big part of their marketing. (1)

I knew the public needed to know about this change ASAP. 

I didn’t waste a minute. I urgently contacted every major news organization with this information. Then I filmed a quick reel and posted it on my social media. I was doing everything I could to get this news out.

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A post shared by Vani Hari | Food Babe (@thefoodbabe)

A reporter replied back to me and published the news that afternoon. (2) Now the story has been picked up by all major news outlets (Washington Post, NY Times, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox). It’s everywhere.

But there’s more to the story that they aren’t covering. 

While I’m happy the word is out about Chick-fil-A’s chicken, it’s driving me crazy that the media isn’t delving into what this change really means. 

For example…

Chick-fil-A is using antibiotics “not important to human medicine”, but what does this mean exactly? Could this be problematic?

Antibiotics that are “not important to human medicine” aren’t used in humans, so it’s assumed they don’t affect human health. However, this is not the case. (3)

The research shows that antibiotics “not important to human medicine” still harm human health.

Experts warn these antibiotics may still lead to resistance to other antibiotics that are used by humans: “Resistance genes don’t discriminate”. (4, 5)

Overusing ANY antibiotic – whether it’s “important to human medicine”, or not, is promoting resistant bacteria. These antibiotics, such as ionophores, are not subjected to the same regulations as medically-important antibiotics and their impact may be silently devastating to the future of human medicine. (6)

Chick-fi-A says they’ll only use antibiotics “if the animal and those around it were to become sick”. What does this include exactly?

The FDA allows antibiotics to be used for:

  1. Animals that are sick
  2. A group of animals when some of them are sick, and
  3. Disease prevention for animals that are at risk of becoming sick. (7)

It is very common for chickens to be sick while living in crowded and unsanitary factory farms. (8)

Does this mean Chick-fil-A’s chickens will receive antibiotics to prevent diseases living in crowded factory farms that often have sick birds?

“Disease prevention” is a real loophole here, and the question is – will Chick-fil-A exploit it?

These are the questions we should be asking. 

Antibiotics used to raise their chicken affects EVERYONE, even those who don’t eat at Chick-fil-A. 

While it’s true that I haven’t eaten Chick-fil-A in over a decade because of the horribly processed ingredients they use (over 50 in their sandwich alone!), this change affects us all. 

Factory farms use 80% of the nations antibiotics, and they have been heavily relied upon and OVERUSED for decades. They were initially given to help farmers grow animals faster and bigger on less food, but now they are widely given to prevent diseases in filthy, crowded farming conditions. (9, 10)

This overuse of antibiotics is creating a major health issue. It has caused an emergence of deadly bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. It’s in our soil, water, air, and food.

In other words, if you were to take an antibiotics for an infection, it may not work because it’s resistant to antibiotics.

This issue is deeply personal. Several years ago my Dad was infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and was hospitalized as a result. Needless to say, it was one of the most stressful and scary times of my life. Thankfully with good medical care, my Dad survived but the antibiotics he was supposed to be given to treat the infection were deemed useless.

This problem is growing. Over 2 million Americans suffer from antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and 35,000 people die. (11)

If this continues, they say antibiotics could become useless by 2050, making antibiotic-resistance the leading cause of death. (12)

This is insanity! 

I believe this is one of the most important health issues of our time, and Chick-fil-A going back to antibiotic-raised meat is very harmful to all of us.

Back in late 2012, Chick-fil-A invited me to their headquarters to consult on ingredient changes. I told their executives that raising chickens on antibiotics should be addressed first. (1)

They agreed!  At first they told me it would be nearly impossible, but in early 2014 made the commitment to serve antibiotic-free chicken. When this news hit, I screamed so loud that every neighbor within a mile radius must have heard me. And then tears of joy started rolling down my face.


Or did we??

Now 10 years later, they cancel it overnight and go back to serving the same conventional chicken you’ll find at McDonald’s and other fast food places.

Officials say these antibiotics don’t end up in the food we eat.. but this is not true!

Moms Across America tested the food from popular fast food chains in 2023 and 60% of the samples contained the antibiotic Monensin and 40% contained Narasin. (13)

They also found Nicarbazin in Chick-fil-A, a contraceptive and anti-parasitic drug that has been prohibited from use.

Remember this next time someone tries to tell you that these drugs don’t end up in our food!

There’s now a wave of food companies backpedaling on their antibiotic-free policies. What’s going on? Why are they doing this?

Last year, Tyson announced they would go back to using antibiotics to raise their chickens. (14) They are a major supplier of restaurants and fast food chains, and reportedly this includes Taco Bell, KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A. (15)

In February of this year, Panera Bread quietly removed all signage from their restaurants that said “No Antibiotics Ever,” “Vegetarian Fed,” “Grass Fed Pasture Raised,”  and “Animal Welfare”. Then it was leaked that they loosened their ingredient standards ahead of a planned IPO. Panera now allows the use of antibiotics in their pork (bacon) and turkey. (16)

We cannot let food companies & restaurants get away with this any longer. Our health is on the line. 

This is what we need to do:

  1. Stop eating at Chick-fil-A if you haven’t already (and Panera Bread too). This is the best way to force these companies to stop going backward with their policies. When they lose their customers, they have no other choice than to take no-antibiotic standards seriously.
  2. Tell everyone you know about this and to do the same. There is POWER in numbers and when we work together we make a huge impact.
  3. Buy certified organic meat, because it is verified to have never been treated with antibiotics. You can use organic pasture-raised chicken to make my Homemade Chick-fil-A Sandwich and Nuggets! Antibiotic-free, even on Sunday! You’ll also find these recipes along with their Waffle Fries and sauces in my cookbooks Food Babe Kitchen and Food Babe Family

Now go out there and share this post to spread the word about Chick-fil-A!

Go, Food Babe Army, Go! 




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9 responses to “Chick-fil-A cancels antibiotic-free chicken (Here’s why this is devastating for everyone!)

    1. The thing that disturbs me the most is how Chick-fil-A is a publicly known Christian owned company (the reason they are closed on Sundays) but yet they don’t run their company with the same ethics in the ingredients they use. And no I am not hating on Christians as I personally am a devout believer in Jesus Christ and an ordained minister. So I would ask for all Christians to boycott them and demand they lead by example.

  1. Many food companies are poisoning our food
    It is criminal
    And then people wonder why they get sick
    Crazy !!!!!

  2. Many food companies are poisoning our food
    It is criminal
    And then people wonder why they get sick
    Crazy !!!!!

  3. Our family is officially done with Chick-fil-A. I sent them an email on their customer support page. Hopefully they will get a flood of emails on this one and make some good changes in their products instead of making their products even worse.

    1. Thank you for your activism. Calling and voice your concerns is the first step. Keep up the good work for your family.

  4. This is insane! I haven’t eaten there because MSG is used in their products. Now this? Parents need to be aware of how harmful this is. Please do your research and voice your opinion. My family won’t be eating there anymore. Sad for them. They had a good thing going.

  5. It is time for consumers to go to the real source- the FDA as they allow so many chemicals and additives to our foods that European countries have banned decades ago. Their decisions are backed by big corporations that want the profits from genetically engineered plants and animals on hormones and antibiotics, not the penalties of making people sick. Chickfila should use their power to influence the government rather than surrendering to the meat industry so they can continue to make a profit. It is time we all say no to bad policies. No more Chickfila or Panera for my family and I am writing to let them know why. Thanks for the information. We can have a voice with our dollars.

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