FDA Moves to Reduce Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals Raised for Meat

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Saying no to drugs. Photo: iStockphoto

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday announced new guidelines designed to reduce the amount of antibiotics administered to livestock on farms. The move is an unprecedented step toward stemming some 30 million pounds of drugs given annually to animals.

The changes, which are voluntary and are intended to eliminate the constant stream of low-dose antibiotics producers rely on to make animals fat more quickly, seek to dictate drug use for the prevention and treatment of disease. The plan requires veterinarian oversight for administration of drugs; on the pharmaceutical side, guidelines implore drug companies to clarify that antibiotics are not meant to promote growth.

Excessive antibiotic use has been linked to the rise of drug-resistant super-bugs. In general, illness caused by antibiotic-resistant microorganisms in humans is on the rise; the Times reports 23,000 people die each year as a result of such infections.

Guidance for Industry [FDA]
F.D.A. Restricts Antibiotics Use for Livestock [NYT]
FDA to crack down on antibiotics in meat [Politico]
Related: The 12 Most Horrific Parts of Rolling Stone’s Massive Animal Cruelty Story