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FDA urges less use of antibiotics on animals raised for human consumption

This week, the Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance concerning the common practice of giving antibiotics to feed animals for the purpose of facilitating weight gain. 

The 19 page document which paves the way for possible further regulation, references scientific studies over three decades indicating a correlation between increased  antibiotic resistant bacteria in humans, and ingesting meat from animals regularly treated with antibiotics.  According to FDA Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, “The overall weight of evidence supports the conclusion that using antimicrobial drugs for production purposes is not in the interest of public health.”

The FDA guidance offers two recommendations which at present are voluntary on the part of the meat producers :  (1) antibiotics should be given only when the animal's health is affected, and (2) meat producers should consult with a veterinarian when antibiotics are being considered to treat an animal.

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