Livestock Drugs Threaten Human Health, FDA Says

Publication: Des Moines Register

Author: Philip Brasher

08/01/2010 -  The young hogs that Larry Sailer raises will get a series of antibiotics before they wind up on anyone's table as pork chops and bacon.

But one of the drugs used here and on other farms isn't designed to treat or ward off illness. That antibiotic fattens hogs on less feed, shaving farm production costs and boosting profits.

Doctors and public health experts have long worried that there's a human price to using drugs this way - and President Barack Obama's administration is listening.

The Food and Drug Administration says overuse of the drugs in livestock is increasing the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.

Now, in a move that is roiling the livestock industry, the FDA is proposing to phase out antibiotics used to promote animals' growth. Farmers such as Sailer would still be allowed to use antibiotics to treat ill animals or to prevent them from getting sick. The FDA also wants to require veterinarian supervision of farm antibiotic use, something that isn't mandatory now.


"If we want to truly preserve antibiotics for future generations ... then we need to look beyond growth promotion," said Laura Rogers, project director of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, an advocacy group.

Read the full article, Livestock Drugs Threaten Human Health, FDA Says on the Des Moines Register's Web site.

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