Antibiotics for Farm Animals - Not

Antibiotics in food may increase resistance to drugs to treat disease

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The FDA released a report urging limited use of medically important antibiotics in farm animals. Exposure to the excessive antibiotics in food may add to resistance for people.

Antibiotics are commonly used in farm animals to prevent illness and promote healthy growth, especially in animals used for meat and dairy products.

The FDA warns that the overuse of certain antibiotics is likely adding to the level of antibiotic resistance that people experience.

"See a dietician for help designing a healthy diet."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued reports to farmers, veterinarians, and animal producers to limit the use of antibiotics, with hopes of lowering the exposure of antibiotics in food products by consumers. These reports are aimed at reducing the antibiotic resistance to these drugs.

Antibiotic resistance can happen when people are exposed to low-levels of antibiotics, which leads to the antibiotics losing effectiveness. When people have resistance, the drugs cannot do the job of fighting infections and can leave some illnesses untreatable.

The FDA’s reports recommend that medicinally important antibiotics should only be used in farm animals to fight infections. They urge animal production industries to stop using antibiotics to enhance growth.

Robert Black, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, posted a response to the FDA’s new recommendations. 

In his statement, he said “Pediatricians are already limited in the number and types of antibiotics that we can use to treat ill children, and when one type of antibiotic is found to be resistant to a strain of an infection, some of our sickest young patients are left without life-saving treatment options.

The AAP commends the FDA for taking this crucial step in our children’s health, and calls on drug companies to cooperate with these voluntary guidelines.”

The FDA announcement was released on April 11, 2012.  The same day, the AAP president posted his response online.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 21, 2012
Last Updated:
April 22, 2012