Opinion

''Antibiotics, meat a risky mix''

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"Federal regulators have tip-toed around the issue of antibiotics in the nation's meat supply for years. Despite considerable evidence that the use of the drugs in animals contributes to the creation and expansion of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that affect humans, the Food and Drug Administration has been slow to take a definitive stance on the issue. No more.

Recently, the FDA warned that widespread use of antibiotics in animals is 'a serious threat to public health.' Trouble is, the FDA action, while welcome, is unlikely to prompt change in the meat industry. The FDA recommends that producers reduce the use of the drugs -- especially those used in treating human illnesses -- in animals, but it provides little incentive for them to do so. There is no legal framework to control or ban their use. Without that, there's no certainty that the industry will adopt practices that arguably help safeguard public health."

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