Today, Subway Restaurants announced plans to transition to serving only protein from animals that have never received antibiotics. The change will apply to all of its 27,000+  U.S. locations beginning first with chicken in March 2016.

Just last month, the sandwich chain was criticized for saying they would stop serving chicken that had been treated with human antibiotics, but their intentions stopped short of including any tangible goals or deadlines. At the time, a number of organizations--The Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union, Food Animals Concern Trust, Keep Antibiotics Working and the Natural Resources Defense Council--had all made comments urging Subway to release more specific details.  

Today’s announcement appears to satisfy those requests.

Subway’s latest effort to provide finicky customers with high-quality and affordable menu items isn’t the chain’s first. In June, the company revealed plans to remove all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from all sandwiches, soups, salads and cookies in North America by the end of 2017.

Antibiotic-free turkey will eventually makes its way to Subway in 2016 and that transition should be complete within 2 to 3 years. Next, antibiotic versions of the chain’s pork and beef products will be introduced within 6 years and completed by 2025.

"Given the size and scope of the Subway brand, this commitment is the largest of its kind in the restaurant industry," says Dennis Clabby, executive vice president of Subway’s Independent Purchasing Cooperative. "A change like this will take some time, particularly since the supply of beef raised without antibiotics in the U.S. is extremely limited and cattle take significantly longer to raise. But, we are working diligently with our suppliers to make it happen."