PIRG’s KFC Save ABX campaign: A Timeline

January 2016: U.S. PIRG and partners sent a letter to Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands, KFC’s parent company, calling on the restaurant conglomerate to phase out the routine use of medically important antibiotics from its meat supply chain. PIRG organizations across the country officially launched the campaign “KFC Save Antibiotics,” earning media attention.

April 2016: Taco Bell, also part of Yum! Brands, committed to stop serving chicken raised with medically important antibiotics. U.S. PIRG used the announcement to generate visibility and shine the spotlight on KFC’s continued silence.

May 2016: Yum! Brands held its annual shareholder meeting at its Louisville, Ky., headquarters. The week of the meeting, U.S. PIRG placed a strategic op-ed in Louisville’s main newspaper, co-signed by a local infectious disease specialist. Our partner NRDC was on the ground in Louisville, and generated media attention at the meeting itself. Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed responded that the company was evaluating its supply chain.

June 2016: Pizza Hut, also part of Yum! Brands, announced a commitment to stop using medically important antibiotics in part of its chicken supply. U.S. PIRG highlighted the commitment in the media and called on KFC to follow the lead of the other two major Yum! Brands restaurants.

June-August 2016: PIRG canvassers and staff nationwide knocked on thousands of doors to educate the public about how KFC can help stop the overuse of antibiotics. Canvass offices generated thousands of calls into KFC customer service lines, gathered roughly 90,000 petition signatures, and generated hundreds of social media actions directed at KFC. U.S. PIRG delivered a letter in July signed by more than thirty Kentucky health professionals urging the company to make Kentucky proud by committing to no longer serve chicken raised with our life-saving medicines. In response, Yum! Brands continued to tell us that they were still evaluating their supply chain.

August 2016: Our coalition delivered more than 350,000 petition signatures to KFC headquarters. Our outreach offices held local media events across the country and generated local media coverage. Yum! Brands responded that they are evaluating their supply chain to determine the viability of going beyond the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s weak guidelines.

September 2016: The United Nations gathered together in New York City to address antibiotic resistance on the global scale. We used the opportunity to showcase all the progress we’ve helped make in the marketplace, including our KFC campaign.

September-November 2016: Our canvassers and organizers continued to generate a steady stream of photo petitions (consumers holding signs urging KFC to act), social media attention using #KFCsaveABX, and consumer calls into KFC’s customer service line.

January 2017: U.S. PIRG landed a story on the Kentucky NPR station highlighting our efforts to get KFC to make a commitment on antibiotics. The story is re-run on NPR affiliates all over the southwest. U.S. PIRG and its partners delivered an additional 125,000 petition signatures to KFC and other major restaurants calling for action on antibiotics. 

April 2017: Community leaders in Kentucky, including the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, helped to elevate the issue in KFC’s own backyard.

April 7th 2017: KFC U.S. announces that by the end of 2018, all chicken purchased by the company will be raised without antibiotics important to human medicine.