Good Antimicrobial Stewardship
Yum! Brands Global Position
“Antimicrobial resistance is a complex problem that affects all of society and is driven by many interconnected factors. Single, isolated interventions have limited impact. Coordinated action is required to minimize the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.”
–World Health Organization
As the global franchisor of three iconic, global restaurant brands in 135+ countries and territories, we care deeply about our customers and live by the core food safety value of Serving up Trust in Every Bite. We share concerns about the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which is one of the most complex issues facing the global food supply chain today.
Yum! Brands supports the One Health, long-term effort to combat AMR that is being coordinated by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and other key international and local agencies. We believe AMR jeopardizes several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and support the landmark commitment regarding AMR made by heads of state at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in September 2016. We also share the FAO’s global position that the responsible and judicious use of antimicrobials in agriculture supports sustainable food security and saves lives.
Accordingly, Yum! Brands is committed to sustaining a program of Good Antimicrobial Stewardship throughout our global supply chain which includes:
- Responsible, judicious use of antimicrobials to benefit human, animal and environmental health
- Reducing, and eliminating where possible, the use of antimicrobials important to human medicine (as defined by the World Health Organization)
Grounded in our Sustainable Animal Protein Principles, our Good Antimicrobial Stewardship program is tailored to unique factors and circumstances that influence AMR in each country and region, compliant with local governments and regulations and consistent with the One Health multi-sectoral approach and leading global and local initiatives for combating AMR.
Addressing AMR and reducing or eliminating antimicrobials important to human medicine from the supply chain in any region is bigger than any one organization and requires cross-sector collaboration with agricultural producers, suppliers, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), veterinarians, animal health experts, academics, public health advocates and peers. As a global company, we are committed to regular and transparent communication of our Good Antimicrobial Stewardship journey, and intend to continue working collaboratively with stakeholders to develop solutions and accelerate progress on combating AMR in the food supply chain.
Our Good Antimicrobial Stewardship Program
Our approach to Good Antimicrobial Stewardship in food animal production is grounded in our Sustainable Animal Protein Principles and is consistent with the One Health multi-sectoral approach and leading global and local initiatives for combating AMR. There are six fundamental elements of enabling and continually improving Good Antimicrobial Stewardship throughout our global supply chain:
- Effective animal husbandry practices and alternate interventions that reduce risks to animal health. Basic tenets of good animal husbandry include: physical barriers against disease-causing pathogens, good hygiene and biosecurity practices, best available environmental controls and nutrition management. Additionally, comprehensive health programs that include vaccination, disease surveillance and quarantine protocols are necessary. Good Antimicrobial Stewardship requires an effective system of documented controls, capabilities and oversight of animal husbandry practices and competent veterinary supervision by an attending practitioner.
- Responsible, judicious use of antimicrobials. When preventive measures and alternative therapies are no longer sufficient to maintain animal health, antimicrobials may be administered under the supervision of an attending veterinarian. Yum! supports the principles of judicious use outlined by the World Organisation for Animal Health, the World Veterinary Association, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, among others. Responsible, judicious use of antimicrobials requires providing the right type and dose of antimicrobials, at the right time, to the right animals, when necessary, to treat the correctly identified pathogen or disease. Employment of the judicious use doctrine does not permit the routine use of antimicrobials important to human medicine for growth promotion and disease prevention. In the presence of a known pathogen, we support judicious use of antimicrobials to prevent illness and secure flock/group health and well-being. Antimicrobials specific to animals that are not important to human medicine should be considered for application first whenever feasible.
- Science-based solutions. Given the technical, interdisciplinary complexities of AMR, solutions must be objective and science-based. We have leveraged the world-class expertise of our multi-stakeholder Animal Welfare Advisory Council since 2003, and have recently expanded it to include experts in other global regions such as Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Eastern Europe/the Middle East. We expect research to continue to evolve and encourage efforts that seek to fill important knowledge gaps in the development of AMR among food animals and humans, especially in developing countries.
- Solutions tailored by country and region. Because there are unique factors and circumstances that influence AMR in each country and region, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to combat AMR globally. Differences in agricultural supply chains and infrastructure, production practices and norms, technical expertise, availability and use of antimicrobials, species and breed of animal, climate and disease profiles, socio-economic development status, and policies and enforcement are some of the key factors influencing country-level AMR challenges and potential solutions.
- Compliant with local government and regulations. At a minimum, our suppliers must be in compliance with local government and regulatory requirements on the use of antimicrobials. We support the multi-sectoral National Action Plans to combat AMR being developed by individual countries that aim to be in place by the World Health Assembly in May 2017. We will work with suppliers in each market to achieve and monitor compliance with these National Action Plans and any associated regulations.
- Surveillance and monitoring of antimicrobial usage. We regularly audit our suppliers to confirm compliance with our food safety and quality standards for food animals from the farm to the restaurant. There is strong alignment in the global public health and animal agriculture communities on the need for improved surveillance of antimicrobial usage to combat AMR. Yum! Brands supports and follows this practice, particularly in developing countries. The consultative supplier audits we deploy across our global business give us strong insight into AMR challenges and potential solutions.
Our International Efforts
For the past 10 years, we have deployed a third party supplier animal welfare audit and consultancy program globally, which we believe has had a positive impact on expanding and maintaining Good Antimicrobial Stewardship throughout our food supply chain. In some markets, we are now piloting a regular assessment of the impact of our suppliers’ husbandry practices on antimicrobial usage in poultry. For example, in two European markets, we have achieved a 50% reduction in the use of antimicrobials (based on net kilograms used) through improved supplier capability resulting from the efforts of our third-party auditing and consulting partners. In addition, we have driven improvement in judicious use of antimicrobials in Asia and Africa including, but not limited to, reduction of the use of antimicrobials important to human medicine. Yum! is currently working with our international suppliers to eliminate the use of antimicrobials for growth promotion even where permitted by law.
Our U.S. Efforts
Currently, all of our U.S. brands follow U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines for antibiotic use in food animals and none of our U.S. brands source from suppliers who use antibiotics to promote growth. Taco Bell U.S. and Pizza Hut U.S. (on chicken for its pizza) have met public commitments to remove antibiotics important to human medicine from our U.S. poultry supply chain. By the end of 2018, all poultry purchased by KFC U.S. will be chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine.
Our efforts in China
Yum China strictly follows the laws and regulations of the Chinese government regarding the use of antimicrobials when purchasing poultry and ingredients for our products, and is committed to serving only food that is safe for our consumers to eat. Yum China has a longstanding program of continuous improvement in poultry sourcing that recognizes the need for excellent husbandry practices and application of judicious use of antimicrobials in poultry production. Regarding this program, Yum China has collaborated with government agencies, leading academic scientists and suppliers to comply with regulatory requirements while developing and disseminating best practice guidelines to supply chain partners.
“Antimicrobial resistance is complex and is more than science and evidence. It is about politics, behavior, economics and conflicting opinions. And it is not merely a consequence of use; it is a consequence of use and misuse, with each community – animal health, human health and environmental health – responsible for antibiotic stewardship.”
–One Health Approach to Antimicrobial Use & Resistance 2012 Symposium