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    Chick-fil-A to go antibiotic-free

    Chick-fil-A said it is working with suppliers on its plan to phase out antibiotics from its chicken within five years.
    MANDEL NGAN/afp/getty images
    Chick-fil-A said it is working with suppliers on its plan to phase out antibiotics from its chicken within five years.

    NEW YORK — Chick-fil-A said Tuesday it plans to serve only chicken raised without antibiotics within the next five years.

    The Atlanta-based chain said it’s working with suppliers to build up an adequate supply for its nearly 1,800 restaurants. It is asking suppliers to work with the Department of Agriculture to verify that no antibiotics are administered to the chickens at any point.

    The use of antibiotics to fatten up farm animals and prevent disease has become a growing concern in recent years. The fear is that the practice could lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant germs, though the actual health effects on humans have not been established.

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    Still, many consumers don’t like the idea of eating meat that has been fed antibiotics, and serving meat raised without antibiotics can be a selling point for companies.

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    Tim Tassopoulos, Chick-fil-A’s executive vice president of operations, said in an interview that the company planned to keep customers updated on its progress and eventually advertise its conversion in its restaurants.

    Chick-fil-A said its conversion will require ‘‘changes along every point of the supply chain — from the hatchery to the processing plant.’’ Company suppliers include Tyson, Purdue, and Pilgrim’s Pride.

    Associated Press