04/11/2012 - The Food and Drug Administration called on drug companies Wednesday to help limit the use of antibiotics in farm animals, a decades-old practice that scientists say has contributed to a surge in dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria.
Antibiotic drugs like penicillin are routinely mixed with animal feed and water to help livestock, pigs and chickens put on weight and stay healthy in crowded feeding lots. Scientists have warned that such use leads to the growth of antibiotic-resistant germs that can be passed on to humans.
The FDA has struggled for decades with how to tackle the problem because the powerful agriculture industry argues the drugs are a key part of modern meat production.
Under the new FDA guidelines, the agency recommends antibiotics be used "judiciously," or only when necessary to keep animals healthy. The agency also wants to require a veterinarian to prescribe the drugs.
The FDA hopes drugmakers will phase out language promoting non-medical uses within three years.
"This is the most sweeping action the agency has undertaken in this area, as this covers all antibiotics used in meat and poultry production that are important to human health," said Laura Rogers, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts' campaign on industrial farming.
Full the full Associated Press article, FDA Wants Limits on Antibiotics Given to Animals, on Philly.com's website.