Antibiotic use in commercially produced farm animals has become the norm in modern farming practices; however, the government may be finally placing a cap on the amount that producers are allowed to feed to their animals. Interestingly enough, this will only come in the form of guidelines, and not regulations meaning they will not be mandatory, although these will be the strongest guidelines that the FDA has ever issued (here is the official statement from the FDA). They will attempt to end the use of antibiotics simply for enhanced growth and enforce stronger veterinary oversight.
Most farmers feed their animals, particularly piglets and calves, antibiotics for weeks after weaning to ensure they are healthy especially since they live in such overcrowded pens, but then continue this practice for several more months to ensure faster growth. These new guidelines are much needed as medical experts say that many bacteria such as some strains of E.coli and salmonella are becoming antibiotic resistant, for the very reason that so much of our food comes pre- pumped with antibiotics.
Naturally, producers are not happy with this decision, saying that there has not been a direct link between animal antibiotics and human resistance. They say that this practice helps keep food costs low, and that any changes will be a huge burden. However, evidence points to the contrary, as many farmers in the European Union have switched over with minimal costs incurred. It is estimated that the price increase would only be an extra 5 cents per pound.
Proponents of the guidelines, however, believe that is not nearly enough, and they want these to become regulations that are strictly enforced. Many medical professionals say that already see the resistance occurring, as up to 30% of urinary infections (which are usually caused by strains of E.coli) don’t respond to current treatments. Clearly, something needs to be done and fast as this has serious bearing on our future health and treatments. What do you think about the use of antibiotics in our animals? (Source: NY Times)
written by moveforward21, Monday, 06:00 PM, September 27, 2010