US farms still using antibiotics which are ‘crucial’ for human health

Meat sample tests show that powerful antibiotics which should be reserved for human health are being used on livestock farms across the US despite rules being brought in last year to limit their use.

Pigs and piglets. Photo credit: Pixabay

Pigs and piglets. Photo credit: Pixabay

The Guardian reports that tests on thousands of meat samples by the US Food Safety and Inspection Service show that there have been no reductions in the number of antibiotics since new regulations came into force in January 2017. The new regulations by the Food and Drug Administration made it illegal to use antibiotics solely to fatten up animals; which had been common practice on industrial farms.

It is important that antibiotics are not routinely used on animals (and therefore enter the food chain) because it increases human resistance to antibiotics.

Meat producers responded to the Guardian warning that restrictions of antibiotics could endanger animal welfare. A spokesperson from the North American Meat Institute said: “Antibiotic residues are extremely rare and meat is safe. To make any other sweeping public health conclusions from the residue testing data is inappropriate and irresponsible.”

However medical experts and pressure groups say that the findings showed more needs to be done and meat companies should pressure farms to reduce antibiotic use.

The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics was co-founded by Sustain and campaigns to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming. You can read their comparison of UK and US farm animal antibiotic use.


24/09/2018
Save Our Antibiotics

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Save Our Antibiotics: The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is a coalition of health, medical, environmental and animal welfare groups campaigning to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming. It was founded by the Soil Association, Compassion in World Farming, and Sustain, and is supported by the Jeremy Coller Foundation.

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Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.