Issues: Media Reports

FDA Report Shows Antibiotic Use in Livestock is Sky High & Growing

Chart from the article. Click to enlarge.

Newly released FDA data on antibiotics in agriculture show that use is on the RISE. NRDC's Avinash Kar parses out the details and why swift policy action is needed.

The latest numbers on sales of antibiotics for use in meat and poultry production show we need government action to end the overuse and misuse of the drugs in livestock.

New 2014 sales data released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today reveals that sales of medically important antibiotics for use in livestock have increased a whopping 23% between 2009 and 2014, with a 3% increase from 2013. And an overwhelming 96% of these sales were for use in animal feed and water—which is generally done for the purpose of growth promotion or disease prevention in animals that are not sick.

This is troubling when livestock sales already represent about 70% of sales of medically important antibiotics in the United States. Overuse of antibiotics in the agricultural industry helps increase the prevalence of drug-resistant superbugs. Two million Americans suffer from drug-resistant illnesses every year, and more than 23,000 die as a result.
— Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog
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Read the article here.

Community Health Impacts of Factory Farms

"Steve Wing received his Ph.D. in epidemiology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is currently an associate professor. Recent work has focused on environmental injustice and health effects of ionizing radiation, industrial animal production, sewage sludge, and landfills. He has collaborated on health and exposure studies with communities and workers impacted by threats to environmental and occupational health."


The Superbug Threat We Need To Watch For Isn't From Our Prescription Bottles, But From Our Meat

"What you may not have heard, however, is that the majority of drugs used in the U.S. aren’t even taken by humans. Approximately 70% of medically important antibiotics are sold for use in livestock. This is a trend that started in the middle of the 20th century when farmers began putting small doses of antibiotics in the food, water and minerals of animals for growth promotion, disease prevention, and disease control. It became standard practice and seemed to make sense – keep the animals healthy, increase growth, produce more food, increase farm profits, and lower food costs for consumers. It is even attributed with tripling American meat production over the last 50 years. But the reality hasn’t been that simple. A side effect we hadn’t anticipated was antibiotic resistance, and in turn, higher health care costs."

Read the Forbes article here