01/04/2012 - The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday ordered farmers to limit the use of a type of antibiotics they give livestock because it could make people more resistant to a key antibiotic that can save lives, encouraging news for public health advocates who say such animal antibiotics are overused.
FDA officials have been clear in stating their belief that antibiotics given to animals before slaughter are linked to growing antibiotic resistance in humans, but it has struggled with how to tackle the problem because the powerful livestock industry says the drugs are needed to keep animals healthy.
Calls for limiting antibiotics have been stronger than ever as consumers have become more aware of the issue and are clamoring for antibiotic-free meat.
Laura Rogers of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming says the issue is "often more emotional than intellectual."
To farmers, she says, it often seems that public health advocates are telling them how to do their jobs. But she said the need for change will be even greater as the market responds to consumer demand — grocery stores and restaurants now tout antibiotic-free meats.
"While this announcement today is a great first step," Rogers said, "more work needs to be done."
Read the full Associated Press article, FDA Limits Some Antibiotics in Livestock, on USA Today's Web site.