Antibiotics have been added to the water and feed of farm animals including cows, sheep, pigs and chickens raised for their meat for decades, solely for the purpose of forcing them to gain weight. In fact, about 80% (30 million pounds) of all antibiotics sold in this country go directly to “factory-farmed” animals. As a result, humans who consume them have become increasingly vulnerable to multi-drug resistant bacteria infections, including a “tenfold increase in multi-drug resistant salmonella found on chicken breasts (the most widely consumed meat in the US).
As a result, the FDA is now calling for pharmaceutical companies to (voluntarily) re-label a large list of antibiotics and phase out their use on farms.
“Implementing this strategy is an important step forward in addressing antimicrobial resistance,” stated Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for the FDA’s Foods and Veterinary Medicine division, who also warned that unless there is a dramatic change that reverses how these drugs are used now, before they are rendered totally useless in treating major infections in the very near future.”