FDA Takes First Step to Curb Antibiotics in Your Meat
Critics say it's not nearly enough
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2013 8:06 PM CST
The FDA is trying to curb the amount of antibiotics that farm animals ingest.   (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)

(Newser) – Farmers have been loading up their animals with antibiotics for years now in order to help them grow beefy and profitable, a practice that public health advocates have long complained about. (Think "superbugs" and the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, for example.) Today, the FDA took its first action to curb the practice, reports USA Today. It is asking drug companies to voluntarily change their labels to make it illegal for farmers to use the drugs solely to boost growth. Already, two of the biggest such companies, Zoetis and Elanco, say they will comply. Also, farmers will now need a veterinarian's permission to administer the drugs.

All of which should make public health advocates thrilled? Not exactly. Critics say farmers can keep using the drugs and get around the law by saying they're doing so to prevent illness, not boost growth, reports the New York Times. And the Washington Post quotes Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York, a microbiologist, as saying the rules fall "woefully short of what is needed to prevent a public health crisis." More forgiving is the director of the Pew Charitable Trust's program for health and industrial farming, who calls it a "promising start, especially after decades of inaction." Drug companies have 90 days to say whether they will comply, then three years to put the changes into effect.

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Showing 3 of 25 comments
AznPandaMan
Dec 13, 2013 4:42 AM CST
heres what your missing... the cows are getting sick because of the food and grain thus requireing anti biotics it's a cover up on top of cover up. Check your food labels. better yet don't buy food with labels...
Lefty_Libby
Dec 13, 2013 12:38 AM CST
The problem is the rise of these superbugs. What we feed our food supply has morphed into something unstoppable that's eating us. The issue is not what we eat (a vegan can contract MRSA). MRSA is often contracted in a hospital setting or through an open wound -- even a paper cut. I don't think it matters if you're a meat eater or a vegan. I've known a couple of people who died prematurely from it already. Once contracted, it moves rapidly, and medical personnel seem powerless against it. It's like something out of science fiction. Unfortunately, it's real. So yuck it up. Eat all the steak you want, because that's not the problem. But, if you cut yourself, make sure you wash that sucker real good, apply antiseptic and bandage it up until you form a scab.
Ultraworld
Dec 12, 2013 2:56 PM CST
I know a butcher who quit eating beef 30 yrs ago. He had to cut huge tumors off of too many carcases and got more information on the things fed to cows, including other cows. In Puerto Rico, the amount of growth hormones given to chickens and cattle had girls under 10 going through puberty. I eat very little meat, most of it free range chicken. I love vegetables. It said we have the safest food supply in the world. If that's true, I'd be afraid to eat in other countries.